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The articles used from the Scientific American and the Scientific American Supplement 

are copyrighted 

Prinlod in tlic U. S. A. by 
J. J. I-ittlc & Co., New York City 





It is believed that the present Avork occupies a unique field in the exten- 
sive literature of magic. There are already a large number of treatises on 
natural magic and legerdemain, but in most of them very little attention has 
been given to the expose of stage illusions, which are of great interest as they 
are so largely based on ingenious applications of scientific j^rinciples. Optics, 
mechanics, sound, and electricity have all been pressed into service by the fiti 
de Steele prestidigitateur. In the present work great attention has been paid 
to elaborate tricks of this nature, and in many cases the exposes have been 
obtained from the prestidigitateurs themselves. In the first few chapters many 
of the best illusions of Robert-Houdin, Dr. Lynn, Professor Pepper, Bautier 
de Kolta, Heller, Herrmann, Maskelyne and Cooke, and Kellar will be found 
clearly explained. 

Conjuring tricks have been by no means neglected, but the number of 
them which are given has been limited, owing to the fact that many of tlie 
books on magic have gone into this subject quite extensively. Ventriloquism, 
shadowgraphy, mental magic, etc., will also be found treated in the present 

The chapters relating to ''Ancient Magic" take up the temple tricks of 
the ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman thaumaturgists, as well as a number 
of automata which are very interesting in view of their very early epoch. It 
is believed this will be found a particularly entertaining feature of the book. 

There is always a great charm about the stage, and the methods of produc- 
ing the effects which give realism to the drama. The chapters devoted to 
" Theatrical Science " will be found to contain a very large number of effects 
and illusions, many. of wdiich are here presented for the first time. Thus an 
entire opera, "Siegfried," is taken up, and the methods by which the won- 
derful effects are obtained are fully illustrated and described. Such amuse- 
ments as cycloramas, the nautical arena, and fireworks with dramatic acces- 
sories are not neglected. 

The chapters on " Automata " and " Curious Toys " describe many inter- 
esting tricks and mechanisms of an amusing nature. 

The last few chapters of the book deal with " Photographic Diversions," 
and here will be found some of the most curious and interesting tricks aiul 
deceptions which may be performed by the aid of photography. The practical 
side of scientific photography will also be found represented. The chapter 



on " Chronophotography " describes the photography of moving objects of all 
kinds, and shows how the results obtained are of valne to the savant. The 
projection of moving pictures upon a screen is thoroughly treated, a number 
of different forms of the apparatus being described. 

The introduction is a unique feature of the work, being written by Mr. 
Henry Eidgely Evans, of AVashington, D. C, author of "Hours with the 
Ghosts ; or, Nineteenth Century Witchcraft." It contains a brief but 
remarkably complete history of magic art from the earliest times to the present 
date, especial attention being given to amusing incidents in the careers of 
celebrated necromancers. Tliis Introduction will be found one of the most 
entertaining parts of the present book. Mr. Evans has also contribnted two 
chapters — one on "^ Shadowgraph y," or "Treweyism," as it has been called, 
in honor of M. Felician Trewey, the classic exponent of the art ; the other on 
"Mental Magic," or second-sight exjjerimeuts. The chaj)ter on " Shadow- 
grapliy " is not only interesting because of the expose of the art of theatrical 
silhouette-making, but on account of the sketch of the life and adventures of 
M. Trewey, who is a jiersonal friend of the writer. Mr. Evans is also the 
compiler of the excellent Bibliography which concludes the book. Though 
this Bibliography makes no pretense to absolute completeness, it is believed 
to be more extensive than any other bibliography of the subject, and it will be 
found of great value to the student of psychology, as well as to the student of 
modern magic. Other acknowledgmeiits are due to Mr. William E. Eobinsou, 
the well-known j^restidigitateur, for many suggestions and favors and for 
important help in connection with tlie Bibliography; Mr. Eobinson having a 
very remarka])le collection of books upon magic, which he has gathered at 
home and abroad during a long period. We are also indebted to Mr. H. J. 
I>urlingame, of Chicago, for permission to use extracts from his writings and 
for assistance in the Bibliography. 

The matter for the present work is very largely compiled from articles 
which have appeared in the "Scientific American" and the "Scientific 
American Supplement," with the addition of much material hitherto unpub- 
lished. Especial acknowledgments are due to our French and German con- 
temporaries, particularly " La Nature.'''' The section on "Ancient Magic " 
is taken almost wholly from the articles of Colonel A. de Rochas in " La 
Ndtiirr.'''' These articles were afterwards amplified by him and published in a 
most interesting book entitled " Zes Oritjiues de la Science.'''' It is hoped 
that the present work will prove entertaining to those who are fond of the 
art viiifjifjve. 

^'KW YfdiK, Si'pl ember, 1897. 





Ancient Magic — Division qf Magic — Cagliostro — Robertson — Comte de Grisi — Robert- 
Houdiu — Carl Herrmann — Signor Blitz — Robert Heller — Alexander Herrmann — 
Bautier de Kolta — Harry Kellar, , . . . 1 



Mystekioijs Disappearances. 

" Vanity Fair " — " After the Flood " — " The Magic Palanquin " — " Cassadaga Propa- 
ganda" — "The Appearing Lady" — "The Disappearing Lady" — "The Mys- 
terious Trunk " — " The Indian Basket Trick " — " Decapitation " — " Spiritualistic 
Ties," 37 


Optical Tricks. 

The "Cabaret du Neant " — The Three Headed Woman — •' Amphitrite " — "The 
Mystery of Dr. Lynn " — " Black Art " — -The Talking Head — The Living Half- 
Woman — "She" — "The Queen of Flowers" — The" Decapitated Princess" 
— " Stella " — Houdin's Magic Cabinet — A Mystic Maze — Platinized Glass — Statue 
giving a Double Image, ............ 55 


Miscellaneous Stage Tricks. 

•' Trilby "—The "Haunted Swing" — Tlie " Scurimobile " — TheXeooccultism — "The 

Mask of Balsarao " — The Invisible Woman — Magic Harps, , .... 89 




Conjuring Tricks. 


Trick witli an Egg and a Handkerchief — The Cone of Flowers — The Magic Rosebush — 
" Magic Flowers" — The " Birth of Flowers" — Tricks with a Hat— A Cake Baked 
in a Hat — The Egg and Hat Trick — Multiplication of Coins— Magic Coins — The 
Dissolving Coin — The Spirit Slates — Second Sight — Magic Cabinets — The Travel- 
ing Bottle and Glass — Disappearance of an Apple and a Ninepin — A Goblet of Ink 
Converted into an Aquarium — The Invisible Journey of a Glass of Wine — The 
Wine Changed to Water — The Animated Mouse — The Sand Frame Trick — 
Houdin's Magic Ball, 105 


Jugglers and Acrobatic Performances. 

Jugglers — The Leamy Revolving Trapeze — Walking on the Ceiling Head Down — The 

Mysterious Ball, 139 


Fire Eaters and Sword Tricks. 

Fire Eaters, Tricks with Fire — A Stab through the Abdomen — The Human Target — 

Sword Swallowers — Swcjrd Walker — Dancers on Glass, ..... 149 

Ventriloquism and Animated PurrETs, 164 



Sliadowgrai)hy — French Shadows, , . . . 173 


Mental Magic. 

Hol.irt Il.-lier- Sfcond Sight— 'I'lic Hsildwiiis juid Second Sight— Silent Thought Trans- 
ference, 184 





Temple Tricks op the Greeks. 


Puppet Sliows among tlie Greeks — The Shrine of Bacchus — The First Automobile 
Vehicle — The Statue of Cybele — Marvelous Altars — The Machinery of the Temples 
— Sounding of Trumpets when a Door was Opened — Opening and Closing Doors 
when a Fire was Lighted on the Altar — Invention in 1889 a.d. vs. Invention B.C. 
— An Egyptian Lustral Water'Vessel, 203 


Miraculous Vessels of the Greeks. 

The Dicaiometer — Miraculous Vessels — Magical Pitchers — Apjiaratus for Permitting 
the Mixing of Wine and Water in Definite Proportions — The Magical Bottle — 
Ancient Organs, ............. 221 


The Origin op the Steam Engine. 

The Eolipile of Heron — Heron's Marvelous Altar — Heron's Tubular Boiler, . . . 234 


Greek Lamps, Toys, etc. 

Perpetual Lamps — An Ancient Automaton — A Greek Toy — The Decapitated Drinking 

Horse — Odometers, , . . , 239 




Behind the Scenes of an Opera House — The Ordinary Stage — The English Stage — The 
Stage Floor — The Cellars — The Flies — The Gridiron — Traps — Sliders — Bridges — 
The Metropolitan Opera House Stage — Wing Posts — Curtain Calls — The Electric 
Lighting — Paint Bridge — The Property Man — Striking a Scene — The Dressing- 
Rooms — The Production of a New Opera, 251 


Some Remakkable Stages, Ancient and Modern. 


An Electric Curtain — The Fan-Drop Curtain — An Elevator Theater Stage — Some 
Remarkable American Stage Inventions — A Revolving Stage — The " Asphaleia" 
Stage — A Theater with Two Auditoriums — Curio's Pivoted Theater — The Olym- 
pian Theater of Palladio at Vicenza, . . 268 


Stage Effects. 

Scene Painting — Sunrise Effect — Sun Effect — Change from Day to Night — Stars — Moon 
Effects — Rainbow Effect — Wind Effect — Thunder Effect — Lightning — Snow 
Effect — Wave Effect — Crash Effect — Rain Effect — Gradual Transformation — Fire 
and Smoke Effect — Battle Scenes — Theatrical Firearms — The Imitation of Odors, . 293 


Theatek Secrets. 

Traps — The Swan in "Lohengrin " — The Floating Rhine Daughters in " Rheingold " 
— The " Sun Robe " — The Ship on the Stage — Miscellaneous Stage Effects — The 
Destruction of the Temple of Dagon — The Horse Race on the Stage — The Effects 
in " Siegfried " — Siegfried's Forge — Siegfried's Anvil — The Dragon Fafner — 
Wotan's Spear — The Bed of Tulips and the Electric Firefly — The Electric Torch 
and Electric Jewels — An Electrical Duel — The Skirt Dance, . . . . .311 

The Nautical Arena 345 

A Tkii' to the Moon, c . 348 



The Electric Cycloraiiia— The Painted Cyclorama, 354 

FiUEW(»HKs with Dramatic Accessories 363 





Automaton Chess Players — Tbe Automaton Cliess Player — A Curious Automaton — The 

Toy Artist— A Steam Man, 367 


CuRiors Toys. 

An Optical Illusion — The Money Maker — Experiments in Centrifugal Force and 
Gravity — The Magic Rose — Electrical Toys — The Electric Race Course — Mag- 
netic Oracle — The Dancers — An Ancient Counterpart of a Modern Toy — Un- 
balanced Toy Acrobats — Columbus's Egg — -Jacob's Ladder — The Mikado — A Toy 
Cart— The Phonographic Doll, 380 


Miscellaneous Tricks of an Amusing Nature. 

Interesting Tricks in Elasticity — Novel Puzzle — Simple Match Trick — Crystallized 
Ornaments — Magical A]iparition on White Paper — Magic Portraits — A Trick 
Opera Glass— A Toy Bird that Flies — The Planchette Table — Japanese Magic 
Mirrors — Magic Mirrors, 406 




Trick Photography. 

Lavater's Apparatus for Taking Silhouettes — Photography upon a Black Ground — 
Spirit Photography — Artificial Mirage — Duplex Photography — Illusive Photog- 
raphy — Photographing a Catastrophe — New Type of Photographic Portrait — 
Photographing a Human Head upon a Table — Photographing a Head on a Platter 
— A Multiple Portrait — Multiphotography — Pinhole Camera — A Photographic 
Necktie — Magic Photographs— Electro-Photo Detective Thief Catcher — Com- 
posite Photography, 423 




Chronophotograpliy — The Registration and Ailalysis of the Movements of Men, Animals, 

Birds, Fishes, Insects, etc. — Amateur Chronophotographic Apparatus, . . . 462 


The Projection of Moving Pictures. 

The Edison Kinetograph — Reynaud's Optical Theater — Electric Tachyscope — Apparatus 
for Projecting Moving Pictures by the Denien}-, Jenkins, Lumiere, and Other 
Forms of Apparatus — The Kinetoscope Stereopticon — The Mutoscope and the 
Mutograph, with Illustrations of Moving Objects — "Cinematograph" Camera 
— Camera for Ribbon Photography. — The Micromotoscope, ..... 488 



The Magic Table—" Gone "—The Siiider and the Fly— The Trunk Trick—" La Stro- 

beika Persane" — "Metempsychosis," 519 

INDEX, 553 






By Henry Ridgely Evans. 

Far back into the shadowy past, before the building of the pyramids, magic 
was a reputed art in Egypt, for Egypt was the " cradle of magic.'^ The magi- 
cians of Egypt, according to the Bible chronicle, contended against iVaron, 
at the court of Pharaoh. The Hebrew prophet " cast down his rod before 
Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh 
also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they 
also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every 
man his rod and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their 
rods." [Exodus vii. 10, 11, 12.] 

The late Robert Heller, prestidigitateur, traveler in the Orient, and 
skeptic, once told me that he had seen this feat performed in Cairo many 
times by the Dervishes. The rods actually were serpents and hypnotized to 
such an extent as to become perfectly stiff and rigid. When thrown Tipon the 
earth and recalled to life by sundry mystic passes and strokes, they crawled 
away alive and hideous as ever. Said Heller: " It was in the open air tliat I 
saw this strange feat performed. Transferred to the gloomy audience chamber 
of some old palace, where the high roof is supported by ponderous stone 
columns painted with hieroglyphics, where rows of black marble sphinxes 
stare at you with unfathomal)le eyes, where the mise en scene is awe-ins])iring 
— this trick of the rods turning into serpents becomes doubly impressive, and 
indeed to the uninitiated a miracle." 

In the British Museum is an Egyptian papyrus, whicli contains an account 
of a magical seance given by a certain Tchatcha-em-ankh before King Khufu, 
B.C. 3766. In this manuscript it is stated of the magician: " He knoweth how 
to bind on a head which hath been cut off, he knoweth how to make a lion 
follow him as if led by a rope, and he knoweth the number of the stars of the 


house (constellation) of Thoth." The decapitation trick is thus no new thing, 
while the experiment performed with the lion, undoubtedly a hypnotic feat, 
shows hypnotism to be old. 

The art of natural magic, then, dates back to the remotest periods of an- 
tiquity. It was an art cultivated by the Egyptian, Chaldean, Jewish, Eoman, 
and Grecian priesthoods, being used by them to dupe the ignorant masses. 
Weeping and bleeding statues, temple doors that flew open with thunderous 
sound and apparently by supernatural means, and perpetual lamps that flamed 
forever in the tombs of holy men, were some of the thaumaturgic feats of the 
Pagan priests. Heron, a Greek mechanician and mathematician, who lived in 
the second century before Christ, wrote several interesting treatises on auto- 
mata and magical appliances, used in the ancient temples. Colonel A. De 
Eochas, in an interesting work, Les Origmes de la Science, has given in detail 
Heron's accounts of these wonderful automata and experiments in natural 
magic. St. Hippolytus, one of the Fathers of the early Christian Church, also 
described and exposed in his works many of these wonders. 

Magic is divided, according to old writers on the occult, into: White magic, 
Black magic, and Necromancy. Modern magic, or conjuring, is divided by 
Robert-Houdin into five classes, as follows: 

1. Feats of Dexteeity, Tbe bauds and tongue being the only means 
used for the production of these illusions. 

2. Experiments in Natural Magic, Expedients derived from the 
sciences, and which are worked in combination with feats of dexterity, the 
combined result constituting " conjuring tricks." 

3. Mental Conjuring. A control acquired over the will of the spectator; 
secret thought read by an ingenious system of diagnosis, and sometimes com- 
])elled to take a particular direction l^y certain subtle artifices. 

4. Pretended Mesmerism. Imitation of mesmeric phenomena, second- 
sight, clairvoyance, divination, trance, catalepsy. 

5. Mediumhiiip. 8pii-itualism or pretended evocation of spirits, table- 
Inruiitg. rai)i)ijig ;ind writing, mysterious cabinets, etc. 

In I lie ^liddlo Ages magic was greatly in vogue and we read strange stories 
of gliosis, goblins, and gnomes in the literature of that period. Shriveled 
old women were burned at the stake for the crime of witchcraft, monks in 
their gloomy cells wrestled with Satan and the ])ovvers of darkness, and grimy' 
idchcmisls toiled djiy and night over the red fires of their furnaces, seeking in 
vain for the talisinsuiic ])hilosopher's stone and wondrous elixir of life. With 
the aid of the concave inirror, magicians of the period were able to produce 
very fair ghost illusions to gull a susceptible public. IJenvenuto Cellini chron- 
icles one in his fascinating auiobiogra])hy. 

Cellini, as guileless as a (hild in matters of science, desiring to study sor- 
cery, applied to a Sicilian priest who was a professed dabbler in the occult 


art. One dark night they repaired to the ruins of the Coliseum, at Eome; the 
monk described a circle on the ground and placed himself and the great gold- 
smith within its mystic outlines; a fire was built, intoxicating perfumes cast 
on it, and soon an impenetrable smoke arose. The man of the cowl then 
waved his wand in the air, pronounced sundry cabalistic words, and legions 
of demons were seen dancing in the air, to the great terror of Cellini. The 
story of this spirit seance reads like an A-rabian tale, but it is easily explainable. 
The priest had a brother confederate concealed among the ruins, who manipu- 
lated a concave mirror, by means of which painted images were thrown on the 
smoke. Later on ISTostradamns conjured uj) the vision of the future King of 
France for the benefit of the lovely Marie de Medicis. This illusion was ac- 
complished by the aid of mirrors adroitly secreted amid hanging draperies. 


The history 6i magic would be incomplete withont a sketch of Cagliostro, 
the arch-necromancer of the eighteenth century, who filled all Europe with 
his fame. Novels and plays have been founded on his strange career, as witness 
Goethe's " Grand Cophta " and Alexander Dumas' " Memoirs of a Physician." 
Thomas Carlyle has remorselessly dissected the character of Cagliostro in 
an immortal essay, " Count Cagliostro," which makes fascinating reading. 
Cagliostro like Nostradamus, and others of that ilk, as the Scotch say, was a 
pretender to magic and sorcery. He manufactured elixirs of life, raised the 
shades of the illustrious dead, pretty much after the fashion of our modern 
spirit mediums; told fortunes, predicted lucky numl)ers in the lottery, trans- 
muted metals, and founded occult lodges of Egyptian Masonry for the regen- 
eration of mankind. Joseph Balsamo — for such was the Count's real name — 
was born of poor parents at Palermo, Sicily, in the year 1743. He received 
the rudiments of an education, and a smattering of chemistry, at a neighboring 
monastery, and then started out to fleece mankind. He began by forging 
theater tickets, after that a will; then he robl)od a goldsmith named ]\rarano of 
a sum of money. Balsamo pretended that a secret treasure lay buried in a cer- 
tain rocky chasm just outside the city of Palermo, and tlurt he, for a considera- 
tion, was able to unearth the gold by means of certain magical incantations. 
Poor Marano like a susceptible gudgeon swallowed the bait, hook and all. paid 
the contingent fee, and accompanied by the amateur sorcerer (it was Balsamo's 
first attempt in the necromantic line) paid a visit on a certain dark night to the 
lonely spot Avhere the treasure lay hid from mortal gaze. Joseph drew a magic 
circle of phosphorus on the earth, pronounced some spells in a peculiar gib- 
berish known only to himself, which he denominated iVrabic, and bade the 
goldsmith dig away for dear life. ]\rarano went vigorously to work with 
pick and spade. Suddenly terrific yells were heard, whereupon a legion of 


devils (Joseph's boon companions with cork-blackened visages) rushed from 
behind the rocks, pounced upon the goldsmith, and nearly beat him to death 
with their pitchforks. The enchanter, in order to escape the vengeance of the 
furious Marano, was compelled to flee his native city. In company with a 
Greek, Althotas, he visited various places — Greece, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, 
Ehodes, Malta, Naples, Venice and Rome. According to his own account, 
he studied alchemy at Malta in the laboratory of Pinto, Grand Master of the 
Knights of Malta and St. John. At Rome he married a beautiful girl, Lorenza 
Feliciani, daughter of a girdle maker, who proved of great assistance to him in 
his impostures. They travelled over Europe in a coach-and-four with a 
retinue of servants garbed in gorgeous liveries. Balsamo changed his name 
to the high-sounding title of the Comte de Cagliostro, and scattered money 
right and left. " At Strasbourg," says one of his biographers, " he reaped 
an abundant harvest by professing the art of making old people young; in 
which pretension he was seconded by his wife, Lorenza Eeliciani, who, though 
only twenty years of age, declared that she was sixty and that she had a son a 
veteran in the Dutch service." Cagliostro also pretended to be of a great 
age, and solemnly declared that he had hobnobbed with Alexander and Julius 
Csesar; that he was present at the burning of Rome under Nero and was an 
eye-witness of the crucifixion of Christ. Cardinal de Rohan, of France, who 
became a firm believer in the pretensions of the charlatan, entertained him in 
Paris, introducing him to that gay world of the Old Regime which went out 
forever with the French Revolution. This was in 1785. All Paris went 
wild over the enchanter, and thronged to his magical soirees at his residence 
in tlie Rue St. Claude. Cagliostro coined money in the French capital with 
liis spurious Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry, which promised to its votaries the 
length of life of the Noachites, and superhuman power over nature and her 
laws. Imbert Saint-Amand, the interesting author of "Marie Antoinette and 
tlie End of the Old L'egime," says (Scribner Edition): "The mania for the 
supernatural, the rage for the marvelous, prevailed in the last years of the 
eigbteenth century, ^\'liicli bad wantonly dei'ided every sacred thing. Never 
were tlic Rosicrucians, the adejjts, sorcerers, and proj)hets so numerous and so 
respected. Serioiis and educated men, magistrates, courtiers, declared tbein- 
selvcs eye-witnesses of alleged iiiii-acles. . . . Wlien Cagliostro came to 
France, be found tlie ground pre])ared for bis magical operations. A society 
eager for distractions and emotions, indulgcMl to every form of extravagance, 
neeessiirily welcomed sneli a niiin and bailed bim as ils guide. Whence did he 
conie? What was bis counlr'v, bis age, bis origin? Wb(>re did he get tliose 
exfraordinary diamonds wbiclv adorned bis dress, the gold wdiich he squandered 
so freely? It was all a mystery. ... So far as was known, Cagliostro had 
no resources, no lettcsr of credit, and yet he lived in luxury. He treated and 
cured tlu' ])oor witbout y)ay, and not satisfied with restoring them to health, he 
made them large presents of money. His generosity to the poor, his scorn for 


the great, aroused universal enthusiasm. The Germans, who lived on legends, 
imagined that he was the Wandering Jew. . . . Speaking a strange gib- 
berish, which was neither French nor Italian, with which he mingled a jargon 
which he did not translate, but called Arabic, he used to recite with solemn 
emphasis the most absurd fables. When he repeated his conversation with the 
angel of light and the angel of darkness, when he spoke of the great secret of 
Memphis, of the Hierophant, of the giants, the enormous animals, of a city 
in the interior of Africa ten times as large as Paris, where his correspondents 
lived, he found a number of people ready to listen and believe him." 

The interior of Africa was an excellent place in which to locate all these 
marvels. Since no traveler in that age of skepticism and credulity had ever 
penetrated into the mysterious land of Ham, it was impossible to deny the 
Munchausen-like stories of the magician. All this bears a close analogy to 
the late Madame Blavatsky and her Tibetan Mahatmas. Cagliostro, like all 
successful and observant wizards, was keenly alive to the effects of mise en scene 
in his necromantic exhibitions; he was a strong believer in the spectacular. To 
awe his dupes with weird and impressive ceremonies, powerfully to stimulate 
their imaginations — ah, that was the great desideratum! His seance-room 
was hung with somber draperies, and illuminated with wax lights in massive 
silver candlesticks which were arranged about the apartment in mystic tri- 
angles and pentagons. 

Says Saint- Amand: "As a sorcerer he had a cabalistic apparatus. On a 
table with a black cloth, on which were embroidered in red the mysterious 
signs of the highest degree of the Eosicrucians, there stood the emblems: little 
Egyptian figures, old vials filled with lustral waters, and a crucifix, very like, 
though not the same as the Christian's cross; and there too Cagliostro placed 
a glass globe full of clarified water. Before the globe he used to place a kneel- 
ing seer; that is to say, a young woman ^^'ho, by supernatural powers, should 
behold the scenes which were believed to take place in water within the magic 

" Count Beugnot, who gives all the details in his Memoirs, adds that for 
the proper performance of the miracle the seer had to be of angelic purity, to 
have been born under a certain constellation, to have delicate nerves, great 
sensitiveness, and, in addition, blue eyes. When she knelt down, the geniuses 
were bidden to enter the globe. The water became active and turbid. The 
seer was convulsed, she ground her teeth, and exhibited every sign of nervous 
excitement. At last she saw and began to speak. What was taking place that 
very moment at hundreds of miles from Paris, in Vienna or Saint Petersburg, 
m America or Pekin, as well as things which were going to occur only some 
weeks, months, or years later, she declared that she saw distinctly in the globe. 
The operation had succeeded; the adepts were transported ^vith delight." 

Cagliostro became involved in the affair of the Diamond Necklace, and was 
thrpwn into the Bastille. Though eventually liberated, he was compelled to 


leave Paris. He made one remarkable prediction: That the Bastille would one 
day be razed to the ground. How well that prophecy was realized, history re- 
lates. In the year 1789 the enchanter was in Eome, at the inn of the Golden 
Sun. He endeavored to found one of his Egyptian Lodges in the Eternal City, 
but the Holy Inquisition pounced down upon him, adjudged him guilty of the 
crime of Freemasonry — a particularly heinous offense in Papal Territory — and 
condemned him to death. The sentence, however, was commuted by the Pope 
to perpetual imprisonment in the gloomy fortress of San Leon, TJrbino. The 
manner of his death, nay the day of his death, is uncertain, but it is supposed 
to have taken place one August morning in the year 1790. The beautiful 
Lorenza Feliciani, called by her admirers the " Flower of Vesuvius," ended her 
days in a convent, sincerely repentant, it is said, of her life of impostures. 


With Cagliostro, so-called genuine magic died. Of the great pretenders 
to occultism he was the last to win any great fame, although there has been 
a feeble attempt to revive thaupiaturgy in this nineteenth century by Madame 
Blavatsky. Science has laughed away sorcery, witchcraft, and necromancy. 
Prior to Cagliostro's time a set of men arose calling themselves faiseurs, who 
practiced the art of sleight-of-hand, allied to natural magic. They gave very 
amusing and interesting exhibitions. Very few of these conjurers laid claim to 
occult powers, but ascribed their jeux, or tricks, to manual dexterity, mechan- 
ical and scientific effects. These magicians soon became popular. 

Towards the middle of the eighteenth century we hear of Jonas, Androletti, 
Carlotti, Pinetti, Katerfelto, Pliiladelphus Philadelphia, Eollin, Comus I. and 
II. Pinetti, when he arrived in London in 1784, displayed the following 
advertisement: " Tbe (^hevalier Pinetti with his Consort will exhibit most 
wonderful, stupendous, and al)so]ut('ly inimitable, meclianical, physical, and 
philosopliical ])ieces, wbicli bis recent dec]) scrutiny in those sciences, and 
assiduous exertions, liave enabled liim to invent and construct; among which 
Clicvjilicr Pineiti will bave tbe spccin] lioiioi- and satisfaction of exhibiting 
various cxjx'riinents of new discovery, no less curious tban seemingly incred- 
ible, particularly tbat of Madame Pinetti being seated in one of the front 
boxes, wiili a liandkcrciiior over her eyes, and guessing at everything imagined 
and proposed to ber by any ])erson in the com])any." Here M^e have the first 
mention of tbe secrtnd-sigbt trick, wbicb in the hands of latter-day artists has 
become so popular. Houdin i-cdiscovered it, passed it on to Pobcrt Heller 
who improved it, and at the present time the conjurer Kellar makes it his 
pikefJeresisfr/nre. ^Kollin had a romaniic cancer. He accumulated a fortune 
at coiijiiriiig. and purchased the chalcau of h'ontenay-aux-Posos, in the depart- 
ment of the Seine. Says II. J. Burlingame, an interesting writer on magic: 


" Eollin incurred the suspicions of the Committee of PuhHc Safety in 1793, 
and sutfered death by tlie guillotine. On the warrant for his execution being 
read to him, he turned to those about him, and observed, ' This is the first 
paper I cannot conjure away.' Eollin was the grandfather of the late political 
celebrity of that name, who was minister of the interior in the provisional 
government of France of 1848."' 

Comus II., who played in London in the year 1793, gave a curious exlii- 
bition of conjuring tricks and automata. His programme announced that the 
Great Comus would present '' various uncommon experiments with his ' En- 
chanted Horologium,' ' Pyxidus Literarum,' and many curious oijerations in 
' Ehabdology,' ' Stenaganagraphy,' and ' Phylacteria,' with many wonderful 
performances of the grand ' Dodecahedron,' also ' Chartomantic Deceptions ' 
and ' Kharamatic Operations.' To conclude with the performance of the 
* Teretopasst Figure and ]\Iagical House ' ; the like never seen in this kingdom 
before, and will astonish every beholder." 

In the height of the French Revolution, when the guillotine reeked with 
blood and the ghastly knitting-women sat round it counting the heads as they 
fell into the basket, a Belgian optician, named Etienne Gaspard Robertson, 
arrived in Paris, and opened a wonderful exhibition in an abandoned chapel 
belonging to the Capuchin convent. The curiosity-seekers who attended 
these seances were conducted by ushers down dark flights of stairs to the vaults 
of the chapel and seated in a gloomy crypt shrouded -with Ijlack draperies and 
pictured with the emblems of mortality. An antique lamp, suspended from 
the ceiling, emitted a flame of spectral blue. AVhen all was ready a rain and 
wind storm, with thunder accompanying, began. Robertson extinguished the 
lamp and threw various essences on a brazier of burning coals in the center of 
the room, whereupon clouds of odoriferous incense filled the apartment. Sud- 
denly, with the solemn sound of a far-off organ, phantoms of the great arose 
at the incantations of the magician. Shades of Voltaire, Rousseau, Marat, 
and Lavoisier appeared in rapid succession. Robertson, at the end of the 
entertainment, generally concluded by saying: '' I have shown you, citizens, 
every species of phantom, and there is but one more truly terril)le specter — the 
fate which is reserved for us all." In a moment a grinning skeleton stood in 
the center of the hall waving a scythe. All these wonders were perpetrated 
through the medium of a phantasmagoric lantern, which threw images upon 
smoke. This was a great improvement on the simple concave mirror which so 
terrified Cellini. The effect of this entertainment was electrical: all Paris went 
wild over it. Robertson, lucky fellow, managed to save his neck from " La 
Guillotine," and returned to his native province with a snug fortune to die of 
old age in a comfortable feather bed. 

Clever as was Robertson's ghost illusion, performed by the aid of the 
phantasmagoric lantern, it had one great defect: the images were painted on 
glass and lacked the necessary vitality. It was reserved for the nineteenth 


century to produce the greatest of spectral exhibitions, that of Prof. Pepper, 
manager of the London Polytechnic Institution. In the year 1863, he in- 
vented a clever device for projecting the images of living persons in the air. 
The illusion is based on a simple optical effect. In the evening carry a lighted 
candle to the window and you will see reflected in the pane, not only the image 
of the candle but that of your hand and face as well. The same illusion may 
be seen while traveling in a lighted railway carriage at night; you gaze through 
the clear sheet of glass of the coach window and behold your " double " 
traveling along with you. The apparatus for producing the Pepper ghost has 
been used in dramatizations of Bulwer's " Strange Story," Dickens' " Haunted 
Man " and " Christmas Carol," and Dumas' " Corsican Brothers." In France 
the conjurers Eobin and Lassaigne presented the illusion with many novel 
and startling effects. 

One of the most famous of the eighteenth-century magicians was Torrini, 
a French nobleman, whose real name was the Comte de Grisi. His father, 
a devoted adherent of Loiiis XYL, lost his life at the storming of the Tuileries, 
on that fatal day in August, ever memorable in the annals of French history. 
Profiting by the disorders in the French capital, the young De Grisi was en- 
abled to pass the barriers and reach the family chateau in Languedoc. He dug 
up a secret treasure his father had concealed for any emergency, and proceeded 
to Italy to study medicine. He established himself at Xaples, where he soon 
became a physician of note. Here his noble birth and aristocratic manners 
gave him the entree into the best society of the city. Like many enthusiastic 
amateurs he became interested in legerdemain, and performed for the amuse- 
ment of his friends. A peculiar incident led him to adopt the profession of a 
magician. At the Carnival of 1796, the Chevalier Pinetti arrived in Naples 
to give a series of magical entertainments. Pinetti was the idol of the Italian 
public. The Comte de Grisi, having unraveled the secrets of most of Pinetti's 
illusions, performed them for his friends. Pinetti, who Avas furious at hav- 
ing a rival, set about revenging himself on the aiidacious amateur. With- 
out much difficulty he succeeded in ingratiating himself with De Grisi, 
and complimented him on his success as a prestidigitateur. One evening, 
he persuaded the young Count to take his place at the theater and give a 
performance for the benefit of the poor of the city. Intoxicated with flattery, 
io say notliing of numerous glasses of cbampagne, De Grisi consented. The 
greater number of I'inetti's tricks were performed by the aid of confederates in 
the audience, who loaned various objects of Avhich the magician had duplicates. 
A diabolif-al trap was laid for De Grisi. One of the accomplices declared that 
lie liad loaned the young magician a valuable diamond ring to use in a trick, 
and harl bad returned to him a pinchbeck substitute. Here was a dilemma, 
but Do Grisi put the man off with an excuse until after the entertainment. 
Apy)roaching the box where the king and his family were seated, De Grisi 
begged the monarch to draw a card from a pack. No sooner, however, had 


the king glanced at the card he had selected, than he threw it angrily on the 
stage, with marks of intense dissatisfaction. De Grisi, horror-struck, picked 
up the card and found written on it a coarse insult. The conjurer rushed off 
the stage, picked up his sword, and searched in vain for the author of the 
infamous act of treachery; but Pinetti had fled. Do Grisi was so utterly 
ruined, socially and financially, by this fiasco, that he came near dying of brain 
fever, the result of overwrought emotions. On his recovery he vowed ven- 
geance on Pinetti, a most unique vengeance. Says De Grisi: " To have chal- 
lenged him would be doing him too much honor, so I vowed to fight him with 
his own weapons, and humiliate the shameful traitor in my turn. This was 
the plan I drew up: I determined to devote myself ardently to sleight-of-hand, 
to study thoroughly an art of which I as yet knew only the first principles. 
Then, when quite confident in myself — when I had added many new tricks 
to Pinetti's repertoire — I would pursue my enemy, enter every town before 
him, and continually crush him by my superiority.'' 

De Grisi sold everything he possessed, took refuge in the country, and 
toiled for six months at sleight-of-hand. Then with splendid apparatus and 
elaborate printing, lie took the field against his hated enemy. He succeeded 
in accomplishing his ends: Pinetti had to retire vanquished. Pinetti died 
in a state of abject misery at the village of Bastichoff, in Yolhynia, Russia. De 
Grisi determined to proceed to Eome as a finish to his Italian performances. 
Pinetti had never dared to enter the Eternal City, since he laid claims to genu- 
ine necromancy to encompass his tricks. Remembering the fate of the Comte 
de Cagliostro, he apprehended a trial for sorcery, and a possible auto da f^. 

De Grisi, however, had no such fears, as his entertainment was professedly 
a sleight-of-hand performance and did not come under the denomination of 
v^'itchcraft and necromancy. The Frenchman set his wits to work to concoct 
a trick worthy to set before a Pope. Happening one day to drop into a jewel- 
er's shop, he espied a magnificent watch lying on the counter undergoing 
repairs. " Whose chronometer? " inquired the wizard nonchalantly. " His 

Eminence, the Cardinal de 's watch, worth ten thousand francs, and made 

by the renowned Bregnet of Paris," said the jeweler. " Is there another time- 
piece similar to this in Rome?" continued De Grisi, examining the watch. 
" But one," replied the jeweler, " and that owned by an improvident young 
noble who spends his time in the gambling hells wasting his ancestral estates." 

That was enough for the juggler. He commissioned the jeweler to pur- 
chase the Avatch at any cost and engrave the Cardinal's coat-of-arms inside of 
the case. The expensive recreation cost De Grisi a thousand francs. When 
the evening of the performance arrived the magician appeared before the Pope 
and a brilliant assemblage of red-robed C^ardinals and executed his astonishing 
experiments in conjuring. As a culminating feat he borrowed the Cardinal's 
chronometer, which had been returned by the jeweler. After many promises 
to handle it carefully, he dropped it on the floor of the audience chamber as if 


by accident and set liis heel upon it. Smash went the priceless timepiece. The 
Cardinal turned pale with rage, and all were horror-struck at the unfortunate 
fiasco. But the Frenchman smiled at the consternation of the spectators, 
picked up the fragments of the watch, had them fully identified in order to pre- 
clude any idea of substitution, and then proceeded to pulverize them in a big 
brass mortar. A detonation took place and red flames leaped up from the mor- 
tar in the most approved order of diabolism; all crowded around to watch the 
result. Watching his opportunity, the wizard surreptiously slipped the dupli- 
cate chronometer into a pocket of the Pope's cassock. The mystification was 
complete when De Grisi pretended to pass the ingot of melted gold from the 
mortar into the pocket of His Holiness, resulting in the discovery of the watch, 
which was produced intact. This seeming marvel made the lifelong reputa- 
tion of the French artist. The Pontiff presented him the day after the seance 
with a magnificent diamond-studded snuff-box as a mark of esteem. 

Yeare after this event, De Grisi's son was accidentally shot by a spectator in 
the gun trick. A real leaden bullet got among the sham bullets and was loaded 
into the weapon. The wretched father did not long survive this tragic affair. 
He died in the city of Lyons, France, in the early part of this century. De 
Grisi was a superb performer with cards, his " blind man's game of piquet " 
being a trick unparalleled in the annals of conjuring. 

After De Grisi came a host of clever magicians, among whom may be 
mentioned Dobler, whose principal trick was the lighting of one hundred 
candles hy a pistol shot; Philippe, the first European performer to present the 
" bowls of gold fish " and the " Chinese rings " ; Bosco, expert in cup and 
ball conjuring; and Conite, ventriloquist and expert in flower tricks. Comte 
was the most distinguished of these artists, being noted for his wit and 
audacity. He was a past master in the art of flattery. The following good 
story is told of him: During a performance at the Tuileries given before Louis 
XVIII, Comte asked the king to draw a card from a pack. The monarch 
selected the king of hearts, by chance, or by adroit forcing on tlie part of the 
magician. Tlie card was torn up, and rammed into a pistol. 

'' Loftk, your majesty," said Comte, pointing to a vase of flowers which 
slot'd ii|)(in a talile in tlie center of the stage. "I shall fire tliis pistol at the 
vase and the king of hearts will appear just above. the flowers." 

The weapon Avas lii-ed, whereupon a small bust of Louis XVIII appeared 
instantaneously out of the center of the Ijoucpiet. 

"Ah," exclaimed the king to the conjuror, in a slightly sarcastic tone of 
voice, "I think. Monsieur Magician, that you have made a slight mistake. 
You promised to make Ihe king of hearts appear, but " 

"Pardon me, yonr majesty," interrupted Ihe conjurer, "but I have ful- 
(ilh'd my |)romiso to the letter. Behold, there is your likeness! — and are you 
not tli(! acknowledged king of all our hearts, the well-beloved of the French 


The king bowed liis royal head benignly, while the assembled courtiers made 
the salon ring with their applause. The journals next morning reported this 
little scene, and Comte became the lion of the hour. 

Comte was in the zenith of his fame when a new performer entered the 
arena of magic — Robert-Houdin. One day the following modest handbill 
appeared on the Parisian bulletin-boards: 

Aujourd'hui Jeudi, 3 Juillet 1845. 








In the year 1843 there was situated in the Rue du Temple, Paris, a little 
shop, over the door of which was displayed the unpretentious sign, " ]\I. 
Robert-Houdin, Pendules de Precision." It was the shop of a watchmaker 
and constructor of mechanical toys. The proprietor was destined to be the 
greatest and most original fantaisiste of his time, perhaps of all times, the 
founder of a new and unique school of conjuring, and the inventor of some 
marvelous illusions. No one who stopped at the unpretentious place could 
have prophesied that the keen-eyed little Frenchman, in his long blouse be- 
smeared with oil and iron filings, would become the premier prestidigitateur 
of France, the inventor of the electrical bell, improver of the electrical clock, 
author, and ambassador to the Arabs of Algeria. During his spare moments 
Houdin constructed the ingenious automata that subsequently figured in his 
famous Soirees Fantastiqiies. When Re went abroad on business or for pleas- 
ure he wore the large paletot of the period and practiced juggling with cards 
and coins in the capacious pockets. 

About the time of which I write he invented his "mysterious clock" — a 
piece of apparatus that kept admirable time, though apparently without works 
— and he sold one of them to a wealthy nobleman, the Count de I'Escalopier. 
The Count, who was an ardent lover of the art amusante, or science wedded 


to recreation, made frequent visits to the shop in the Rue du Temple, and sat 
for hours on a stool in the dingy workroom watching Houdin at work. A 
strong friendship grew up between the watchmaker and the scion of the Old 
Regime. It was not long before Houdin confided the secret of his hopes to 
the Count — his burning desire to become a great magician. 

The nobleman approved the idea, and in order to give the conjurer oppor- 
tunities for practice, so that he might acquire the confidence which he lacked, 
constantly invited him to pass the evening at the De I'Escalopier mansion, for 
the purpose of trying his skill in sleight-of-hand before a congenial and 
art-loving company. On one occasion, after a dinner given in honor of 
Monseigneur Afl:re, Archbishop of Paris, who was killed at the barricades 
during the Revolution of 1848, Houdin performed his clever trick of the 
" burnt Avriting restored." In the language of Houdin, the effect was as 
follows: "After having requested the spectators carefully to examine a large 
envelope sealed on all sides, I handed it to the Archbishop's Grand Vicar, 
begging him to keep it in his own possession. Next, handing to the prelate 
himself a small slip of paper, I requested him to write thereon, secretly, a sen- 
tence, or whatever he might choose to think of; the paper was then folded in 
four, and (apparently) burnt. But scarcely was it consumed and the ashes 
scattered to the winds, than, handing the envelope to the iVrchbishop, I re- 
quested him to open it. The first envelope being removed a second was found, 
sealed in like manner; then another, until a dozen envelopes, one inside 
another, had been opened, the last containing the scrap of paper restored 
intact. It was passed from hand to hand, and each read as follows: 

" ' Though I do not claim to be a prophet I venture to predict, sir, that 
you will achieve brilliant success in your future career.' " 

Houdin preserved this slip of paper as a religious relic for many years, but 
lost it during his travels in Algeria. 

The Count de I'Escalopier, after the incident at the memorable dinner, 
urged Houdin to start out immediately as a conjurer. One day the watch- 
maker, after considerable hesitation, confessed his inability to do so on account 
of povc]-ty. 

"Ah," replied the nobleman, "if that's all, it is easily remedied. I have 
at home ten thousand francs or so which I really don't know what to do with. 
Accept them, my dear Hondin, and begin your career." 

But Houdin, loath to incur the responsibility of risking a friend's money in 
a theatrical specidation, wiiliont some guarantee of its being repaid, refused 
the generous offer. Again and again De rEsealoi)ier urged him to take it, but 
without success; finally the nobleman, annoyed at the mechanician's obstinacy, 
loft llic shop in a state of ])i(|ue. But after a few days he returned, saying, as 
he (sntered: " Since you are determined not to acept a favor from me, I have 
come to ask one of you. Listen! For the last year an escritoire in my sleeping- 
apjiriinent has ])een ro])bcd from time to iime of large sums of money, not- 


withstanding the fact that I have adopted all manner of precautions and safe- 
guards, such as changing the locks, having secret fastenings placed on the 
doors, etc. I have dismissed my servants, one after another, but, alas! have not 
discovered the culprit. This very morning I have been robbed of a couple of 
thousand-franc notes. There is a dark cloud of suspicion and evil hanging 
over my house that nothing will lift till the thief is caught. Can you help 

"I am willing to serve you," said Houdin; "but how?" 

"What!" replied De I'Escalopier; "you a mechanician, and ask how? 
Come, come, my friend; can you not devise some mechanical means for appre- 
hending a thief? " 

Houdin thought a minute, and said quietly: "I'll see what I can do for 
you." Setting to work feverishly, he invented the apparatus, and aided by his 
two workmen, who remained with him the whole of the night, he had it ready 
at eight o'clock the next morning. To the nobleman's house Houdin went. 
The Count under various pretexts had sent all his servants away, so that no 
one should be a\\'are of the mechanician's visit. 

While Houdin was placing his apparatus in position, the Count frequently 
expressed his w^onderment at the heavy padded glove which the conjurer wore 
on his right hand. 

" All in good time, my dear Count," said Houdin. When everything was 
arranged, the mechanician began his explanation of the working of the secret 
detective apparatus. " You see, it is like this," he remarked. " The thief un- 
locks the desk, but no sooner does he raise the lid, ever so little, than this claw- 
like piece of mechanism, attached to a light rod, and impelled by a spring, 
comes sharply down on the back of the hand which holds the key, and at the 
same time the report of a pistol is heard. The noise is to alarm the household, 
and " 

" But the glove you wear! " interrupted the nobleman. 

" The glove is to protect me from the operation of the steel claw which 
tattooes the word Robber on tlie l)ack of the criminal's hand." 

" How is that accomplished ? " said De rEscalo})ier. 

" Simplest thing in the world," replied Houdin. " The claw consists of a 
number of very short but sharp points, so fixed as to form tlie word; and these 
points are shoved through a pad soaked with nitrate of silver, a portion of 
which is forced by the blow into tlie punctures, thereby making tlie scars in- 
delible for life. A peur dc li/s staiii])('(l by an executioner with a red-liot iron 
could not be more effective." 

" But, M. Houdin," said the Count, horror-stricken at tlie idea. " I liave no 
right to anticipate Justice in this way. To brand a fellow-being in sucli a 
fashion would forever close the doors of society against him. I could not 
think of such a thing. Besides, suppose some member of my family through 
carelessness or forgetfulness were to fall a victim to this dreadful apparatus." 


" You are right," answered Houdin. " I will alter the mechanism in such 
a way that no harm can come to any one, save a mere superficial flesh wound 
that will easily heal. Give me a few hours." 

The Count assented, and the mechanician went home to his work-shop to 
make the required alterations. At the appointed time, he returned to the 
nobleman's mansion, and the machine was adjusted to the desk. In place of 
the branding apparatus, lioudin had arranged a kind of cat's claw to scratch 
the back of the thief's hand. The desk was closed, and the two men parted 

The Count did everything possible to excite the cupidity of the robber. He 
sent repeatedly for his stock-broker, on which occasions sums of money were 
ostentatiously passed from hand to hand; he even made a pretense of going 
away from home for a short time, but the bait proved a failure. Each day 
the nobleman reported, " no result," to Houdin, and was on the point of giving 
up in despair. Two weeks elapsed. One morning De I'Escalopier rushed into 
the watchmaker's shop, sank breathlessly on a chair, and ejaculated: "I have 
caught the robber at last." 

" Indeed," replied Houdin; " who is he? " 

" But first let me relate what happened," said the Count. " I was seated 
this morning in my library when the report of a pistol resounded in my 
sleeping-apartment. ' The thief! ' I exclaimed excitedly. I looked around me 
for a weapon, but finding nothing at hand, I grasped an ancient battle-ax from 
a stand of armor near by, and ran to seize the robber. I pushed open the door 
of the sleeping-room and saw, to my intense surprise, Bernard, my trusted 
valet and factotum, a man who has been in my employ for upwards of twenty 
years. ' What are you doing here? ' I asked; ' what was that noise? ' 

"In the coolest manner he replied: ^I came into the room just as you 
did, sir, at the explosion of the pistol. I saw a man making his escape down the 
back stairs, but I was so bewildered that I was unable to apprehend him.' 

" I rushed down the back stairs, but, finding the door locked on the inside, 
knew that no one could have passed that way. A great light broke upon me. 
' Great God! ' I cried, ' can Bernard be the thief? ' T returned to the library. 
My valet was holding liis right hand behind liiiii, hut \ dragged it forward, 
and saw the imprint of llic claw thereon. Hu; wound was bleeding profusely. 
Finding himself convicted, tlie wretch fell on liis knees and begged my forgive- 

" * How long have you been robbing nie? ' I asked, 

" ' For nearly two years,' he said. 

" ' And how much have you taken? ' 1 in(|uii-('d. 

"'Fifteen tlioiisand francs, wliich 1 invested in Government stock. The 
scrip is in my desk.' 

"I found the securities correct, iind in tlie presence of another witness, 
made Bernard sign the fcjliouing confession: 


" ' I, the undersigned, hereby admit having stolen from the Count de I'Esca- 
lopier the sum of 15,0UU francs, taken by me from his deslv by the aid of false 

*'* Bernard X . 

" ' Pakis, the — day of , 18—. 

" ' Now go/ I exclaimed, ' and never enter this house again. You are safe 
from prosecution; go, and repent of your crime.' 

" And now," said the Count to Houdin, " I want you to take these 15,000 
francs and begin your career as a conjurer; surely you cannot refuse to accept 
as a loan the money your ingenuity has rescued from a robber. Take it " 

The nobleman produced the securities, and pressed them into Iloudin's 
hands. The mechanician, overcome by the Count's generosity, emliraced him 
in true Gallic style, and this embrace, Houdin says, " was the only security De 
I'Escalopier would accept from me." 

Without further delay the conjurer had a little theatre constructed in the 
Palais Royal, and began his fajnous performances, called by him: " Soirees 
Fantastiques de Bolert-Houdin," which attained the greatest popularity. He 
was thus enabled within a year to pay back the money borrowed from the 
Count de I'Escalopier. 

Jean Eugene Eobert, afterwards known to fame by the cognomen of Robert- 
Houdin, was born at Blois, the birthplace of Louis XII, on the sixth of 
December, 1805. His father was a watchmaker. At the age of eleven 
Robert was sent to a Jesuit college at Orleans, preparatory to the study of 
law, and was subsequently apprenticed to a notary at Blois, but finding the 
transcribing of musty deeds a tiresome task, he prevailed on his father to let 
him follow the trade of a watchmaker. While working in this capacity, he 
chanced one day to enter a bookseller's shop to purchase a treatise on me- 
chanics, and was handed by mistake a work on conjuring. The marvels con- 
tained in this volume fired his imagination, and this incident decided his 
future career, but he did not realize his ambition until later in life, when De 
I'Escalopier came to his aid. 

In his early study of sleight-of-hand Ploudin soon recognized that the 
organs performing the princi})al part are the sight and touch. He says in 
his memoirs: "I had often l)een struck by the ease witli wliicli pianists can 
read and perform at sight the most difficult pieces. I saw tliat. by practice, it 
would be possible to create a certainty of perception and facility of touch, 
rendering it easy for the artist to attend to several things simultaneously, 
while his hands were busy employed with some comiilicated task. This faculty 
I wished to acquire and ap])ly to sleight-of-hand; still, as music could not 
afford me the necessary element, I had recourse to the juggler's art." Resid- 
ing at Blois at the time was a mountebank who, for a consideration, initiated 
the young Houdin into the mysteries of juggling, enabling him to juggle four 


balls at once and read a book at the same time. " The practice of this feat," 
continues Houdin, " gave my fingers a remarkable degree of delicacy and cer- 
tainty, while my eye was at the same time acquiring a promptitude of percep- 
tion that was quite marvelous." 

On Thursday evening, July 3, 1845, Houdin's first Fantastic Evening took 
place in a small hall of the Palais Eoyal. The little auditorium would seat 
only two hundred people, but the prices of admission were somewhat high, 
front seats being rated at $1 or five francs, and no places were to be had under 
forty sous. The stage set represented a miniature drawing-room in white and 
gold in the Louis XV style. In the center Avas an undraped table, flanked by 
two small side tables of the lightest possible description; at the side wings or 
walls were consoles, with about five inches of gilt fringe hanging from them; 
and across the back of the room ran a broad shelf, upon which were displayed 
the various articles to be used in the seances. A chandelier and elegant can- 
delabra made the little scene brilliant. The simplicity of everything on the 
conjurer's stage disarmed suspicion; apparently there was no place for the 
concealment of anything. Prior to Houdin's day the wizards draped all of 
their tables to the floor, thereby making them little else than ponderous con- 
federate boxes. Conjuring under such circumstances was child's play, as com- 
pared with the difficulties to be encountered with the apparatus of the new 
school. In addition, Houdin discarded the long, flowing robes of many of his 
predecessors, as savoring too much of charlatanism, and appeared in evening 
dress. Since his time, no first-class prestidigitateur has dared to ofl'end good 
taste, by presenting his illusions in any other costume than that of a gentleman 
habited a la mode, nor has he dared to give a performance with draped tables. 
In fact, modern professors of the art magique have gone to extremes on the 
question of tables and elaliorate apparatus, many of them using simple little 
gueridons with glass tops, unfringed. Houdin's center table was a marvel of 
mechanical skill and ingenuity. Concealed in the body were " vertical rods 
each arranged to rise and fall in a tul)e, according as it was drawn down by a 
sj)iral s])ring or pulled up by a whip-cord which passed over a ]>ulley at the top 
of the tu])e and so down the table log to the hiding place of the confederate." 
Tiien; Avere " ten of these ])istons, and the ten cords, passing under the floor of 
tlie stage, terminated at a keyboard. Various ingenious automata were actu- 
ated ])y this means of ii-ansniitting motion.'' M^'lie consoles were nothing more 
than sliallovv wooden boxes with opcMiiugs ilirougli the side scenes. The tops 
of the consoles were ])erforated with tray)s. Any ol)ject Avhich the wizard 
desired to woi-k ofl" secretly to his confederate' behind the scenes was placed on 
one of these tra])S and covered with a ])aper, metal cover, or a handkerchief. 
Toucliing a spring caused the article to fall noiselessly through the trap upon 
cotton batting, and roll into the hands of the conjurer's alter ego, or concealed 

Let us now look at some of the illusions of the classic prestidigitateur of 


France. By far his best and greatest invention is the " light and heavy chest," 
of which he himself wrote: "I do not think, modesty apart, that I ever in- 
vented anything so daringly ingenious." The conjurer came forward with a 
little wooden box, to the top of which was attached a metal handle, and re- 
marked as follows to the audience : " Ladies and gentlemen, I have here a cash 
box which possesses some peculiar qualities. I place in it, for example, a lot 
of bank-notes, for safe-keeping, and by mesmeric power I can make the box 
so heavy that the strongest nian cannot lift it. Let us try the experiment." 
He placed the box on tlie run-down, which served as a means of communication 
between the stage and the audience, and requested the services of a volunteer 

When the latter had satisfied the audience that the box was almost as light 
as a feather, the conjurer executed his pretended mesmeric passes, and bade the 
gentleman lift it a second time. But try as he miglit, with all his strength, the 
volunteer would prove unequal to the task. Reverse passes over the demon 
box restored it to its pristine lightness. This extraordinary trick is performed 
as follows: Underneath the cloth cover of the run-down, at a spot marked, 
was a powerful electro-magnet with conducting wires reaching behind the 
scenes to a battery. At a signal from the magician a secret operator turned on 
the electric current, and the box, which had an iron bottom, clung to the 
electro-magnet with supernatural attraction. It is needless to remark that the 
l)ottoni of the cash box was painted to represent mahogany, so as to correspond 
with the top and sides. 

The phenomena of electro-magnetism were entirely unknown to the gen- 
eral public in 1845, when this trick of the spirit cash-box was first presented. 
As may be well imagined, it created a profound sensation. When people 
became more enlightened on the subject of electricity, Houdin added an addi- 
tional effect, in order to throw the public off the scent as to the principle on 
which the experiment was based. After first having exhil)ited tlie trick on the 
" run-down," he hooked the liox to one end of a rope which passed over a pulley 
attached to the ceiling of the hall. Several gentlemen were noAV invited to 
hold the disengaged end of the rope. They were able to raise and lower the 
iwx with perfect ease, but at a wave of the magician's wand the little chest 
descended slowly to the floor, lifting ofi' their feet the spectators who were 
holding the rope, to the astonishment of everyone. The secret lay in tlie 
pulley and block. The rope, instead of passing straight over tlie pulley, in on 
one side and out on the other, went through the block and through the ceiling, 
working over a doulile pulley on the floor above, whore a workman at a windlass 
held his own against the united power of the five or six gentlemen below. It is 
a simple mechanical principle and will be easily understood by those acquainted 
with mechanical power. 

Houdin's orange tree, that blossomed and bore fruit in sight of the audi- 
ence, was a clever piece of mechanism. The blossoms, constructed of tissue 


paper, were pushed up through the hollow branches of the tree by the pistons 
rising in the table and operating against similar pistons in the orange-tree 
box. When these pedals were relaxed the blossoms disappeared and the fruit 
was gradually developed — real fruit, too, which was distributed among the 
spectators. The oranges were stuck on iron spikes affixed to the branches of 
the tree and hid from view by hemispherical wire screens painted green and 
secreted by the leaves. When these screens were swung back by pedal play the 
fruit was revealed. In performing this illusion Houdin first Ijorrowed a 
handkerchief from a lady in the audience, and caused it to pass from his hand 
into an orange left on the tree. When the disappearance was elfected, the 
fruit opened, revealing the handkerchief in its center. Two mechanical 
butterflies, exquisitely made, then took the delicate piece of cambric or lace 
and flew upwards with it. The handkerchief of course was exchanged in the 
beginning of the trick for a dummy l)elonging to the magician. It was worked 
into the mechanical orange by an assistant, before the tree was brought forward 
for exhibition. 

Houdin was very fond of producing magically bon-bons, small fans, toys, 
bouquets, and bric-a-brac from borrowed hats. These articles he distributed 
with liberal hand among the spectators, exclaiming : " Here are toys for 
young children and old." There was always a great scramble for these sou- 
venirs. The conjurer found time to edit and publish a small comic news- 
paper, " Cagiiostro," copies of which were handed to every one in the theatre. 
The contents of this journal pour rire were changed from evening to evening, 
which entailed no small labor on the part of the hard- worked prestidigitateur. 
It was illustrated with comic cartoons, and was eagerly perused between the acts. 

Here is one of Houdin's bon mots : Le Ministre de V Interienr ne recevra 
pas demain, mais le Ministre des Fitiances recevra tous les jours . . . et 
jours suivaiits. 

The crowning event of Houdin's life was his embassy to Algeria to counter- 
act the influence of the Marabout priests over the ignorant Arabs. The Mara- 
bouts are Mohammedan miracle workers, and are continually fanning the 
flames of rebellion and discontent against French donvination. The French 
Government invited Eobert-Houdin to go to Algeria and perform before the 
Ara])s in order to show them that a French wizard was greater than a Mara- 
bout fakir. It was pitting Creek against Greek! ^'ho marvels of optics, 
chemistry, electricity, and mechanics which Houdin liad in his repertoire, 
coii])l('d wKli Ills digital dexterity, were well calculated to evoke astonishment 
and awe. How well tlu' famous French wizard succeeded in his mission is a 
matter of liislory. A Cull account of his adventures among the Arabs is con- 
tained in bis memoirs and makes very entertaining reading. After his success- 
ful embassy to the land of \}\q. white bournous and turban, Houdin returned 
to France and settled down at St. Gervais near Blois, giving his time to elec- 
trical studies and inventions. 


He received several gold medals from the French Government for the suc- 
cessful application of electricity to the running of clocks. The conjurer's 
house was a regular ]\lagic Villa, being full of surprises for the friends who 
visited the place. There were sliding panels in the walls, trap doors, auto- 
matons in every niche, descending floors, and electric wires from attic to 
cellar. Houdin died at St. Gervais in June, 1871. His son-in-law, M. Hamil- 
ton, continued to carry on the Temple of Enchantment at Paris, and at the 
present time there is a little theater on the Boulevard des Italiens called 
" Theatre Eohert-Houdin," where strolling conjurers hold forth. It was a 
great disappointment to Houdin when his two sons refused to take up magic as 
a profession; one entered the French army, and the other became a watch- 


One of the best sleight-of-hand artists that ever lived was Carl TTornnann, 
who styled himself the " Premier Prestidigitateur of France and First Pro- 
fessor of Magic in the World." He died at Carlsbad, June 8, 1887, at the 
advanced age of seventy-two. Of him Burlingame says: "Without using 
much mechanical or optical apparatus, he produced many wonderful effects by 
a sharp observation of the absence of mind of the human auditor, assisted by 
a hand as firm as steel and capable of the most deft movement." Carl Herr- 
mann traveled extensively, and many conjurers adopted his name as a nom de 
thedtre. Magicians seem to have a penchant for this sort of thing, as witness 
the case of Signor Blitz. Antonio Blitz, a very clever performer, no sooner 
arrived in the United States than imitators sprang up like mushrooms in a 
single night. In his " Fifty Years in the Magic Circle," he gives a list of 
eleven of these impostors, who not only had the impudence to assume his name, 
but circulated verbatim copies of his handbills and advertisements — 

Signor Blitz. 

Signor Blitz, Jr. 

Signor Blitz, The Original. 

Signor Blitz's Son. 

Signor Blitz's Nephew. 

Signor Blitz, The Great. 

Signor Blitz, The Wonderful. 

Signor Blitz, The Unrivaled. 

Signor Blitz, The Mysterious. 

Signor Blitz, By Purchase. 

Signor Blitz, The Great Original. 

A clever entertainer was Robert Heller. He was a magician, a mimic, and 
a musician — a combination of talents rarely seen in one individual. He was, 
indeed, the Admirable Crichton of fantaisistes. As a pure sleight-of-hand 


artist. Heller was not the equal of some of his contemporaries, but he made up 
for all deficiencies in this respect by his histrionic abilities. By the power 
of his address and wit he invested the most insignificant feats of legerdemain 
with a peculiar charm. In this regard he was like Robert-Houdin. Eobert 
Heller, or Palmer, was born in London, in the year 1833. Early in life he 
manifested a unique talent for music, and won a scholarship at the Royal Acad- 
emy of Music at the age of fourteen. Having witnessed several performances 
of the conjurer Houdin, in London, he became enamored of magic, and devoted 
his time to perfecting himself in the art of legerdemain, subsequently travel- 
ing around giving entertainments in the English provinces. In the year 1852 
he made his bow to a New York audience at the Chinese Assembly Rooms, on 
which occasion he wore a black wig and spoke with a decided Gallic accent, 
having come to the conclusion that a French prestidigitateur would be better 
received in the United States than an English wizard. I have this on the 
authority of Henry Hatton, the conjurer, who wrote an article on Heller's 
" second-sight " trick for the " Century Magazine " some years ago. Hatton 
also says that Heller began his magical soiree with an address in the French 
language. Not meeting with the desired financial success. Heller abandoned 
conjuring, and settled in Washington, D. C, as a teacher of the piano and 
organist of one of the large churches of the city. Eventually he married one 
of his music pupils, a Miss Kieckhoffer, the daughter of a wealthy German 
banker, and abandoned music for magic. He went to ISFew York, where he 
opened Heller's Hall, in a building which then stood opposite Niblo's Garden, 
on Broadway. His second delmt as a conjurer was an artistic and financial 
success. After a splendid run in New York he returned to London, opening 
what is now Pool's Theater. Subsequently he visited Australia, India, and 
California, returning to New York in 1875. He died November 28, 1878, at 
tlie Continental Hotel, I'liiliidGl])]iia, at the height of his fame. Like most of 
his CO »/rcre.s, Heller was a clever advertiser. His theatrical posters usually 
bore the following amusing verse: 

'' SliakoRpoave wi'oto well, 
Dickens wrote Weller ; 

Anderson was , 

But the greatest is Heller." 

His entertainments consisted of magic, mnsic, and an exhilntion of pre- 
tended clairvoyance. Those w]io were not interested in liis feats of leger- 
demain flocked to bear his snperb performances on the ])iano. 

Heller, lik(! Iloudin. made great use of electricity in his magical seances. 
Many of his eleclricnl iricks were of his own invention. In his will he 
directed his execniors to destroy all of his apparatus, so that it might not come 
into the possession of any other conjurer. 



The most popular performer in this country was Alexander Herrmann, a 
European by birth, but an American by adoption. I am indebted to Mr. Wm. 
Kobinson, for years an assistant to Herrmann, for the following account of 
the great conjurer's career: 

"The late Alexander Herrmann was born in Paris, France, February 11, 
1843, and died in his private car on December 17, 189G, while en route from 
Eochester, N". Y., to 
Bradford, Pa. He came 
of a family of eminent 
prestidigitateurs, h i s 
father, Samuel Herr- 
mann, being the most 
famous conjurer of his 
day. Samuel Herr- 
mann was a great fa- 
vorite with the Sultan 
of Turkey, who fre- 
quently sent for him to 
give entertainments in 
the royal palace at 

"The next in the 
family to wield the 
magic wand was (,.'arl 
Herrmann, who was 
the first of the Herr- 
manns to visit Amer- 
ica, and the first to use 
and introduce t h e 
n a m e ' prestidigita- 
teur ' in this country. 
Carl, Alexander's eld- 
est brother, achieved 
great success in the 
world of magic. He 

died June 8, 1887, at Carlsbad, Germany, possessed of a large fortune. 
There were sixteen children in the Herrmann family, Carl being the eldest, 
and Alexander the youngest. After Carl adopted magic as a profession, 
the father abandoned it, and began the study of medicine. It was the 
father's fondest hope that Alexander, his favorite son, should be a physician, 
but fate decreed otherwise. Alexander's whole desire and ambition was to 
become a magician like his father and his brother. He persuaded his brother 
to take him as an assistant. One day young Alexander was missing from the 



parental roof; lie had been kidnapped and taken away by Carl, with whom he 
made his first public aj)pearance, at the age of eight, at a performance in St. 
Petersburg, llussia. Even at that early age his great dexterity, ingenuity, and 
presence of mind were simply marvelous. The sudden ajjpearance of the 
father disiDelled the visions of the embryonic magician, and he was compelled 
to return home. But the youth's attention could not be diverted from his pur- 
jjose, and again he became his brother's assistant. This time, the father com- 
jiromised by consenting to Alexander's remaining on the stage, provided his 
education were not neglected. Carl engaged two competent tutors to travel 
with the company and instruct the young prodigy. For six years the brothers 
worked together, visiting Spain, France, Germany, Eussia, and the surround- 
ing countries. Again the parents claimed Alexander, and placed him in the 
University of Vienna. - At the age of sixteen, the old desire and fascination 
took possession of him. He accepted his brother's proposal to make a tour of 
the world, and ran away from home and studies. Their first appearance in 
America was at the Academy of Music, New York, Monday, September 16, 
1861. Their last joint engagement was in this country in the year 1869. On 
the opening night, in New York, Monday, September 20, Carl introduced 
xVlexander to the audience as his brother and successor. When this engage- 
ment terminated, the brothers separated; Carl made a short tour of this coun- 
try, but Alexander went to Europe, where he appeared in the principal cities, 
subsequently visiting the Brazils and South America. After that he made a 
remarkable run of one thousand performances at the Egyptian Hall, London, 
England. From England he returned to the United States in the year 1874, 
and from that period made this country his home, becoming a naturalized 
citizen in Boston, 1876. His career as a magician was one uninterrupted 
success. The many lengthy and favorable notices of him in the leading 
jr)uriia]s of ihis country, immediately after bis death, sliowed that he was 
regarded as a public character. 

" Herrmann bore a remarkable resemblance to ' His Satanic Majesty,' 
which he enhanced in all possible ways, in recognition of human nature's belief 
in the superhuman i)owers of the arch enemy. Despite this mephistophelian 
aspect, his face was not forbidding; his manner was ever genial and kind. 
' Magicians are born, not made ' was a favorite paraphrase of his, and Dame 
Nature certainly had him in view for one when she brought him to this 

"His success lay in his skill as a manipulator, in liis witty remarks and 
ever-running fire of good-natured small talk. He was a good conjurer, a clever 
comedian, and a fine actor. His 'misdirection,' to use a technical expression, 
was ])eyond expression. If liis Inininous eyes turned in a certain direction, 
all eyes were compelled (as by some mysterious power) to follow, giving his 
marvelously dexterous hands the better chance to perform those tricks that 
were the admiration and wonder of the world. 


" Alexander Herrmann's pet hobby was hypnotism, of which weird science 
he was master, and to its use he attributed many of his successful feats. His 
great forte was cards; he was an adept in the ordinary tricks of causing cards 
to disappear, and reappear from under some stranger's vest or from a pocket. 
With the greatest ease and grace, he distributed cards about a theater, sending 
them into the very laps and hands of individuals asking for them. On one 
occasion he gave a performance before Nicholas, the Czar of all the Russias. 
The Czar complimented the conjurer upon his skill, and decorated him, at the 
same time smilingly remarking: ' I will show you a trick.' The Czar tore a 
pack of cards into halves, and good-humoredly asked: 'What do you think of 
that? Can you duplicate it?' His surprise was great to see Herrmann take 
one of the halves of the pack and tear it into halves. Herrmann was as clever 
wdth his tongue as with his hands, having mastered French, German, Spanish, 
Italian, Russian, Dutch, and English. He also had a fair knowledge of Portu- 
guese, Chinese, Arabic, and Swedish. 

" He was decorated by almost every sovereign of Europe, and many of them 
gave him jewels. The King of Belgium and the late King of Spain each pre- 
sented him with a cross; there was a ring from the King of Portugal, one from 
the Prince of Wales, and various other gems. 

" At private entertainments and clubs Herrmann was especially felicitous 
as a prestidigitateur. I will enumerate a few of his numberless sleight-of- 
hand tricks: He would place a wine glass, full to the brim with sparkling 
M-ine, to his lips, when suddenly, to his apparent surprise and consternation, 
the glass of wine would disappear from his hand and be reproduced imme- 
diately from some bystander's coat-tail pocket. He would place a ring upon 
the finger of some person, and immediately the ring would vanish from sight. 
A silver dollar would cliange into a twenty-dollar gold piece. A magnum 
bottle of champagne, holding about two quarts, would disappear, to reappear 
from under a gentleman's coat. He was a capital ventriloquist, an imitator of 
birds, and quite clever at juggling and shadowgraphy, but lu' did not exhibit 
these talents in public. 

"The lines in Herrmann's hands were studies for adepts in cliirograpby. 
There were three lines of imagination, instead of one. which indicates an 
imaginative faculty little less than miraculous, and denotes a generous heart^ 
genius for friendship, a determined nature, and an artistic temperament. 
The accompanying impression of his right hand, taken a few days after he 
died, represents a slwrt hand, owing to the fact that in death the fingers 
had curled inward somewhat. In life his hands were long, slender, and 

Leon Herrmann, a nephew of the great Herrmann, is now performing 
in the United States with success. In personal appearance he resembles 
his uncle. He is very clever at palmistry — the cardinal principle of con- 



One of the most original and inventive minds in the domain of conjuring 
is M. Bautier de Kolta, a Hungarian, who resides in Paris. He is ahnost a 
gentleman of leisure, and only appears about three nights in a week. He is 
the inventor of the flying bird cage, the cocoon, the vanishing lady, and the 

trick known as the 
" black art," reproduced 
by Herrmann and 

In England, the 
leading exponent of the 
magic art is J. N". Mas- 
kelyne, who has held 
forth at Egyptian Hall, 
London, for many years. 
He has done more to 
unmask bogus spirit 
mediums than any con- 
jurer living. Appren- 
ticed like Houdin to 
a watchmaker, Maske- 
lyne became acquainted 
with mechanics at an 
early age. He is the 
inventor of some very 
remarkable automata 
and illusions, for ex- 
ample " Psycho " and 
the "Miracle of Lh'asa." 
At the juggling feat of 
spinning dessert plates 
he has but few rivals. 
To perform this re- 
quires the greatest skill 
ajul delicacy. 

One of the best per- 
formers in the United 
Slates of anti-Ki)iritualistic tricks and mind-reading experiments is Mr. Harry 
Kellar, a Pennsylvanian, who at one time in his career acted as assistant to the 
famous Davenport Brothers, spirit mediums. Kellar is exceedingly clever 
with handkerchief tricks, and his "rose-tree" feat has never been surpassed 
for dexterous and graceful manipulation. Like Houdin, De Kolta, and Mas- 
kelyne, he is an inventor, always having some new optical or mechanical illu- 
sion to grace his entertainments. 





Of late years he has made the fatal mistake of exposing the methods of 
palmistry to the audience, thereby olt'ending one of the cardinal principles of 
the art of legerdemain — never explain tricks, however simple, to the spectators. 
People go to magical entertainments to be mystified by the pretended sorcery 
of the magician, and when they learn by what absurdly simple devices a person 
may be fooled, they look with indifference at the more ambitious illusions of 
the performer. Palmistry is the very foundation stone of prestidigitation. 
No magician, unless he confines himself to mechanical tricks, can do without 
it in a performance. 

Last but not least in the list of modern fantaisistcs is the French enter- 
tainer, M. Trewey, an exceedingly clever juggler, sleight-of-hand artist, and 


In his advertisements, Eobert-IIoudin was extremely modest. His suc- 
cessors in the art magique, however, have not imitated him in this respect. We 
have Wizards of the North, South, and West, White and Black Mahatmas, 
Napoleons of Necromancy, Modern Merlins, etc. Anderson, the English con- 
jurer, went to the extreme in self-laudation, but managed to draw crowds by his 
vainglorious puffery and fill his coffers with gold, though he Avas but an 
indifferent performer. The following is one of his effusions: 

" Theatre Eoyal, Adelphi . The greatest wonder at present in London 

is the Wizard of the North. He has prepared a Banquet of Mephistophelian, 
Dextrological, and Necromantic Cabals, for the Wonder seekers of the ap- 
proaching holidays. London is again set on fire by the supernatural fame of 
tlie eximious Wizard; he is again on his magic throne; he waves his mystic 
scepter, and thousands of beauty, fashion, and literature, rush as if charmed, or 
s])ell-commanded, to behold the mesteriachist of this age of science and wonder! 
Hundreds are nightly turned from the doors of the mystic palace, that cannot 
gain admission; this is proof, and more than proof, of the Wizard's powers of 
cliarming. During the last six nights, 12,000 spectators have been witnesses 
of the Wizard's mighty feats of the science of darkness, and all exclaim, ' Can 
this be man of earth? is he mortal or super-human? ' 

" Whitsun-Monday, and every evening during the week, The Great Delu- 
sionist will perform his Thousand Feats of Photographic and Alladnic En- 
chantments, concluding every evening with the Gun Delusion! ! " 

The Theosophical craze of recent years has had its influence on prestidigita- 
tion. A modern conjurer who does not claim some knowledge of the occult, 
or, at least, who has not traveled in the Orient, cuts but little figure in public 
estimation. Every now and then some enterprising wizard rushes into print 


and exploits his weird adventures in Egypt and India, the birthplaces cf magic 
and mystery. Every intelligent reader reads between the lines, but the 
extravagant stories of Oriental witchery have their effect on certain impres- 
sionable minds. The magician Kellar is a reputed Oriental tourist. He 
has journeyed, according to his own account, in the wilds of India, wit- 
nessed fakir-miracles at the courts of Mohammedan Bajahs, hobnobbed with 
Mahatmas in Tibetan lamaseries, and studied the black, blue, and white art in 
all its ramifications. In one of his recent advertisements he says: " Success 
crowns the season of Kellar, the Great American Magician. His Oriental 
magic, the result of years of original research in India, enables him to present 
new illusions that are triumphs of art, and attract enormous houses — dazing, 
delighting, dumbfounding, and dazzling theater-goers." 





The fascination which the general public finds in clever tricks and ilkisions 
is little to be wondered at, but it is a mistake to suppose that all the outfit 
which the modern magician needs is a few paper roses, a pack of cards, some 
coins, and a wand. The fact of the matter is, that usually the most entertain- 
ing tricks are those which are produced at considerable expense in the way of 
apparatus and stage fittings. It is for this very reason that the secret of the 
illusion is always so closely guarded by the prestidigitateur. After a series of 
sleight-of-hand tricks the magician usually leads up to what might be called 
"set pieces" in contradistinction to the sleight-of-hand tricks. Chief among 
the more important illusions are the wonderful cabinets and other articles 
of furniture which enable the wizard to make away with his assistants. We will 
describe a number of these arrangements for " mysterioiis disa])i)earances " 
before proceeding with the mirror and other optical tricks to which the fin de 
siecle magician is so largely indebted. All of these illusions, as they depend 
upon pre-arranged machinery, afi^ord an introduction to the tricks wliicli, 
though much simpler, require a certain amount of aptness in manipulation. 


The first illusion presents tlie disappearance of a lady, ai)i)arently through 
a solid looking glass. The method used is remarkably ingenious. 

A large pier glass in an ornamental frame is wheeled upon the stage. 
The glass reaches down within about two feet of the floor, so that every one 
can see under it. The only peculiarities which a skilled observer would be apt 
to notice are a wide panel extending across the top of the frame and a bar 
crossing the glass some four feet from the floor. The first is ostensibly for 
artistic effect — it really is essential to the illusion. The horizontal piece pur- 


ports to be used in connection with a jjair of brackets to support a glass shelf 
on which the lady stands — it also is essential to the illusion. 

Brackets are attached to the frame, one on each side, at the level of the 
transverse piece, and a couple of curtains are carried by curtain poles or rods 
extending outward from the sides of the frame. Across the ends of the brack- 
ets a rod or bar is placed and a plate of glass rests as a shelf with one end on 


tlio ntd and ilie otlicr on tlic Jioj'izoiital })iece, thus imjn'ossing U})on the audi- 
ence; the utility of the crosspiece. Its real function is not revealed. 

A lady steps upon the shelf, using a step-ladder to reach it. She at once 
turns to the glass and begins inspecting her reflection. The exhibitor turns 
her witli Iut face to the audience and she again iiirns back; This gives some 
l)yi»lay, and it also leaves her with her back to the audience, which is desirable 
for the performance of tlio deception. A screen is now ])laced around her. 
'J'he screen is so narrow tliat a considera])le portion of the mirror shows on 



each side of it. All is quiet for a moment, and then the screen is taken down 
and the lady has disappeared. The mystification is completed by the removal 
of the portable mirror, it being thus made evident that the performer is not 
hidden behind it. 

Two of our cuts illustrate the performance as seen by the audience, the 
second explains the illusion. The mirror is really in two sections, the a[»par- 


ently innocent crossbar concealing the top of the lower one. The large upper 
section is placed just back of the lower piece, so that its lower end slides down 
behind it. This upper section moves up and down in the frame like a window 
sash, and to make this possible without the audience discerning it the wide 
panel across the top of the frame is provided. When the glass is pushed up, 
its upper portion goes back of the panel, so that its up])er edge is concealed. 
Out of the lower portion of the same mirror a piece is cut, leaving an open- 


iiig large enough to admit of the passage of the person of the lady. The second 
cut, with this description, explains everything. The mirror as brought out on 
the stage has its large upper section in its lowest position. The notched por- 
tion lies behind the lower section, so that the notch is completely hidden from 
the audience. When the glass shelf is put in place, the performer steps upon 
it and is screened from view. The counterpoised glass is raised like a window 



sash, ex])osing the notch. Tlie screen is just wide enough to conceal the notch, 
the fact that a margin of the mirror shows on each side of the screen still 
further masking the deception. From the scene piece back of the mirror an 
inclined itlatl'oi'in is projected to llie opening in the mirror. Tln\)Ugh tlie 
opening the lady creej)S and by tlie assistant is drawn away behind the scene; 
tlien the platform is removed, tlie glass is pushed down again, and, the screen 
being removed. Ihere is no lady to l)e seen. The fact that some of the mirror 
was visible during the entire operation greatly increases the mystery. The 
lady passes through Ihe notch feet foremost, and her position, facing the 
mirroi-, makes this tlie easier. 





In this illusion the curtain rises and shows upon the stage wliat is to he 
interpreted as a representation of Noah's ark^ a rectangular hox with ends 
added to it, which, curv- 
ing upward, give it a / ^^v- ,,,^.,1;,,,., ..r,, 

hoat-like aspect. It stands i 
upon two liorses or tres- 
tles. The cut, Fig. 3, 
shows the ark in its en- 
tirety. The exhibitor 
opens it on all sides, 
swinging down the ends 
and the front and hack 
lids, and raising the to]) 
as shown in Fig. 1. It 
will he noticed by the 
observant spectator that 
the back lid is first 
dropped and that the as- 
sistant helps throughout, 
the reason of which will 

be seen later. The skeleton or frame of the structure is now disclosed and it is 
seen to be completely empty. It is now closed, this time the back lid being 

swung into place last, and all is ready 
for the flood. This is represented 
l)y the water poured in ad libitum 
through a funnel inserted in an aper- 
ture in the upper corner. To the audi- 
ence it seems as if the ark were being 
filled with water. In reality, the 
water simply runs through a pipe, 
carried through one of the legs of 
the trestle, and so down beneath 
the stage. The management of the 
flood is illustrated in our cut, Fig. 3. 
After the flood the exit of the 
animals from the ark is next to 
be attended to. 0])ening windows 
in its front, a quantity of animals 
and birds are taken»out as shown in Fig. 3. Ducks, chickens, pigeons, cats, 
dogs, and a pig are removed and run around on the stage or fly about, and it 




is wondered how so small an inclosure could contain such a collection. It is 
also to be observed that none of the animals are wet — the water has not reached 
them. More, however, is 
to follow, for the exhib- 
itor now lets down the 
front, and a beautiful 
Eastern woman, Fig. 4, 
reclines gracefully in the 
center of the ark, which 
lias only room enough to 
accommodate her. Where 
the animals came from, 
and how they and the 
woman could be found 
in the ark, which, when 
opened before the audi- 
ence, seemed completely 
empty, and how they escaped the water, are the mysteries to be solved. 

Our cut. Fig. 5, completes the explanation. The ends which are swung up 
and down in the preliminary exhibition of the ark are the receptacles which 
accommodate the animals and birds. They are stowed away in these, are 
swung up and down with them, and are taken out through a]K'rtures in their 

The woman, the other tenant, is fastened originally to the back lid. When 
the ark is opened for inspection, this lid is swung down, ostensibly to enable the 
audience to see through the ark — in reality to prevent them from seeing 
through the illusion. For, as stated, it is swung down before the front is- 




opened, and as it goes down the woman goes with it, and remains attached to 
it and out of sight of the audience, who only see the rear side of the door as 
it is lowered. Fig. 5 shows the rear view of the ark when open, with the 
woman in place on the rear lid, and also shows the animals in place in the side 

The illusion is exceedingly effective, and is received with high appreciation 
by the audience. To those who understand it, the performance is of 
heightened interest. 


The heroine in this play was presented on the stage in a palanquin carried 
by four slaves. At a given moment the curtains were drawn and then imme- 
diately opened, when it was seen that the actress had disappeared; and yet the 


palanquin was well isolated on tlic sliciildci's of the carriers, who resumed 
tlu'ir jorirncy niul cnrriod it ofT tlie stage. 

This I rick, which |ti'cci'(lc(l l)y many years Buatier do Ivolta's experiment, 
in which also a woman was made to disa])])('iu-, hut l)y an entirely different pro- 
cess, as will be cx))lained later on in this chai)ter, was performed as follows: The 
four uprights arranged at the four corners of the apparatus were hollow, and 
each contained al ihc iop a pulley over which a cord pusscd. Tlu-se coi-ds were 
attached by one end to the double bottom of the ])alan(piin. and by the other 
end to ;i counterpoise concealed in the cano])y. 

At llic |»recis(! nionient at which the curtains were drawn, ihc carriers dis- 



engaged the counterpoises, which, sliding witliin tlie uprights, rajndly raised 
the double bottom, witli the actress, up to the interior of the canopy. The 
person thus made to disappear was quite slender and took such a position as to 
occupy as little space as possible. By making the shadows of the mouldings 
of the canopy and columns more pronounced through painting, and by exag- 
gerating them, the affair was given an appearance of lightness that perplexed 
the most distrustful spectator. 


One of the most mysterious among Ivellar's repertory of successful illusions 
is the "• Cassadaga Propaganda," an explanation of which is herewith i)resented. 


The effect as produced on the spectators will first be outlined. A sheet 
of plate glass about sixteen by sixty inches in size is placed upon the backs of 
two chairs, and on it is erected a small beautifully tinislied cabinet consisting 
of four pieces, of which the sides are hinged to the back, and which, with the 
front, are seen resting on a chair at the side of the stage. When erected, the 
cabinet is forty-two inches high, thirty-six inches wide, and fourteen inches 

Tambourines and bells are placed in the cabinet and ilie doors closed, when 
the instruments instantly began ])layiiig and are then tlirown out at tlie top of 
the cabinet. The cabinet is now opened and found to be empty. A. slate 


placed in the cabinet lias a message written thereon. In fact, all manifesta- 
tions usually exhibited in the large cabinets are produced, and yet this cabinet 
is apparently not large enough to contain a person. We say apparently not 
large enough; for, in reality, the whole secret consists in a small person, or an 
intelligent child of ten or twelve years of age, being suspended by invisible 
wires behind the back of the cabinet, where there is a small shelf on which the 
concealed assistant is sitting Turkish fashion. This folded cabinet is hung on 
two fine wires which lead up to the " flies " and over rollers or pulleys to the 
counterweights. When proper wire is used on a brightly illuminated stage 
the wires are absolutely invisible. 


After sliowiiig tlie chairs and ])lacing the glass plate upon them, the per- 
former picks up the folded part of the cabinet and places it on the glass, the 
counterweights overcoming the extra weight of the concealed assistant. He 
then opens out the sides, places the front containing the doors in position, 
fastening same by hooks to the sides. 

The inside of the cabinet and panels of doors are lined with pleated gold 
silk. There is a concealed opening in the silk at the back of the cabinet, for 
the assistant to pass his artii tlwoiigli, in order to handle whatever is placed 
within it. 

Everything hciiig in readiness, llic l:iinl)()iirin(> and bell are placed in the 
cabinet and the doors are closed. Tlie assistant now passes his hand and arm 


BEJiE *•„> ' , ... ,■ 

l^j -'"Bi'^ ■■■■". ^ ■ * 

"■' '.«frj?4» : ■.:"* " ^r i h — ■■ -■»— m- », 

d . ^JHBl 


through the opening in the back and shakes the tambourine, rings the bell, 
and tlirows botli out over the top of the cabinet. When the doors are opened 
the cabinet is shown to be empty. Clean slates placed in the cabinet are 
removed with messages written on them; in fact, the manifestations that can 
be produced in the cabinet are limited only by the intelligence of the con- 
cealed assistant. 

One of the cuts shows the cabinet with open doors as seen by the audience. 
The second cut is an end view looking from the side of stage, showing the 
assistant on a shelf at the rear of the cabinet, and the wires leading up and over 
to the counterweights. 

The clever illusionist Chev. E. Thorn made great use of a variation of 
the " Cassadaga Propaganda." He used two cabinets, each large enough to 
receive a person in an upright position. They were constructed of slats and 
were provided with curtains. Screens of the same color as the rear of the 
stage served to close the space between the slats. The magician deceived the 
audience by walking behind the cabinet or cage as often as possible when the 
screens were open so that the audience could see him through the slats. The 
carpet on the stage, the back of the stage, and the screen were all of the same 
shade of green. 

The performers, usually a caliph and an odalisk, appear and disapjDear at 
will, really taking up the place on the wooden stage at the back of the cabinet. 
Usually two cages were used, one being suspended, and by the use of confed- 
erates who were dressed alike some very clever illusions were produced. 

When the curtain rises the caliph stands on a little platform on the cage at 
the left, hidden by the cage and the screens. Attention is then called to the 
cage at the right whose screen is open so that the performer can be seen when 
he passes behind it. 

After the performer has demonstrated this he pulls down red silk curtains 
over the side walls and the doors; the rear wall, however, remains uncovered. 
Now a brilliantly dressed odalisk steps into the box at the left. The doors 
have scarcely closed l)ehind her Avhen they open again, the curtains fly up, 
and it is seen that the woman has disappeared, and in licr ])lace stands a white- 
bearded caliph, while she appears at the rear dooi- of llic parquette smiling 
behind her veil. Slie ])asscs down through the audience io ilie stage again. 
In tlie meantime the cali])h has left the stage. 

What follows is even more surj)rising. Tiie ciirtniiis of botli cages are' 
])iilled down, ilic calipli goes into ibe cage at the left and the odalisk into that 
at the riglit. '^^Die cage containing the odalisk is I'aised on a hoisting rope so 
that it hangs in midair with the dooi-s open. I'he doors arc closed, a shot is 
fired; at the same instant the doors of both cages s])ring open and the curtains 
are raised; the odalisk has disap])eared from the cage, which stands again on the 
floor of the stage, but, at tlic same instant, she steps, as smiling as ever, from 
the cage at the left, from which the caliph has vanished. The two cages stand 



open and the audience can see right through them. The curtain falls and the 
spectators rub their eyes in bewilderment. 

The pulling down of the curtains serves to conceal the entrance of the 
caliph in the box. When the odalisk is to vanish and the caliph to appear he 
slips in from the board on the outside, while the odalisk takes her i)lace on the 
board behind the screen. The odalisk who appears at the door of the audito- 
rium and walks down through the audience is an exact double of the real 
odalisk who is standing invisible behind the screen on the board of the cage 
at the left. Owing to the i)eculiar costume of the odalisk tliis disguise is 
rendered very easy. While the real odalisk is standing behind the screen on 
the board of the cage at the left, the cali})h installs himself in the cage. The 
false odalisk is then raised in the air in the second cage, through which the 
audience has been able to see up to this time. A shot is now fired and just 
at that time the odalisk moves very quickly on a board behind the screen and 
the cage is let down and stands firmly on the floor, at the same moment the 
odalisk in the other cage changing places with the caliph. The swinging cage 
appears to be empty and a])parently the odalisk has passed through the air to 
the other cage. The success of the trick depends upon making the spectators 
believe that everything is done in cages through which they can see. 


Of the many new illusions recently presented in Europe, an ingenious one 
is that of the appearing lady, the invention of that clever Hungarian magician 
Buatier de Kolta. 

On the stage is seen a "• , , 

plain round top four-leg 
table, which the magician 
has been using as a rest- 
ing place for part of the 
apparatus used in his 
magic performance. 
Eventually, the p e r - 
former removes all arti- 
cles from the table and 
covers it with a cloth that 
does not reach the floor. 
Our first engraving rep- 
resents the table in this 
condition. On command, 
the cloth gradually rises 

from the center of the table as though something were pushing it up. In a 
few moments it becomes very evident that some one; or something, is on the 





table covered by the cloth. The magician now removes the cloth and a lady 
is seen standing on the table, as shown in our second illustration. 

The secret of this, as in all good illusions, is very simple, as the third illus- 
tration will show. In the stage there is a trap door, over which is placed a 
fancy rug that has a piece removed from it exactly the same size as the trap, 
to which the j^iece is fastened. When the trap is closed the rug appears to be 


an ordinary one. The table is ])laced directly over the trap. Below the stage 
is a box, open at tlic to]), with cloth sides and wood bottom. To this box are 
attached four very fine wires, that lead up through tlie stage by means of small 
lioles where the irap ami floor join, over small pidleys in the frame of the 
table and down througli the table legs, which are hollow, through the stage 
to a windlass. In the table top is a trap that divides in the center and opens 
outward. The top of the table is iuhiid in such a manner as to conceal the 



edges of the trap. The lady takes her place in the box in a kneeling position, 
the assistant stands at the windlass, and all is ready. Fig. 1 of our third 
engraving shows the arrangement beneath the stage, and Fig. 3 the under 
side of the table top. 

The magician takes a large table cover, and, standing at the rear of table, 
proceeds to cover it by throwing cloth over table, so tliat it reaches the floor 
in front of the table, then slowly draws it \\\) over the table top. The moment 
that the cloth touches the floor in front of the table, the trap is opened and the 


box containing the lady is drawn up under the table by means of the windlass, 
and the trap closed. This is done very quickly, during the moment's time in 
which the magician is straightening out the cloth to draw it l)ack over the 
table. All that now remains to be done is for the lady to open the traj) in 
table and slowly take her place on top of the table, and close the trap. 

The top and bottom of the box by means of which the lady is placed under 
the table are connected by means of three strong elastic cords placed inside of 
the cloth covering. These elastics are for the purpose of keeping the bottom 
and top frame of box together, except when distended by the weight of the 
lady. Thanks to this arrangement of the box, it folds up as the lady leaves it 
for her position on the table top, and is concealed inside of the frame of table 


after her weight is removed from it. A somewhat similar trick is called " The 
Disappearing Lady." In this illusion the process is worked in the reverse 


The accompanying figures illustrate a trick in which the prestidigitateur, 
after placing a chair upon an open newspaper and seating a lady thereon, covers 
her closely with a silk veil, and after the words " one^ two, three," lifts the veil 
and shows that the lady has disappeared. 

The newspaper is provided with a trap, which is concealed hy the printed 
characters (Fig. 1). This trap is of the same size as the one that must exist 
in the floor upon which one operates. As for the chair, that is generally an 


FIG. 1. 

old affair, without any cross rod in front (Fig. 2). It is provided with a 
movahle seat that lowers in oi'der to allow the lady to pass between the two 
front legs. It is provided, besides, with a frame of wire which is invisible 
on account of the feeble diameter of the latter, and which, attached to the 
back, is turned backward on the side opposite the spectator. As soon as the 
lady who is to be made to disa})pear is seated (Fig. 3), she causes the frame to 
tilt and cover her head and shoulders. This operation is hidden by the veil 
that the prestidigitateur spreads out nl this moment in front of the lady. 

At this instant the operator actuates a spring, which opens the trap in the 
floor. The lady passes between the legs of the chair (Fig. 4), and then through 
the two traps, the one in ilic paper and the one in the floor. As soon as she 
reaches the floor bcnc-illi llic stage she closes the trnp in the newspa])er with 
gummed paper, mikI sliiils ihe one in the floor, and it might be thought that 
she was still on tlie stage, a](li(»ugh she has disappeared. In fact, the veil, on 



account of the wire frame, seems always to outline the contours of the vanished 

After the operator has said "' one, two, three," he lifts the veil and causes 
tlie wire frame to fall back. 

Since this trick was hrst introduced it has been more or less perfected or 
modified in its form, but the preceding description states the methods generally 
employed in performing the trick. In some cases if the newspaper is carefully 

FIG. 3. 

FIG. 4. 

examined, it will be found to be made of India rubber and to contain a large 
rent at about the center. In the next chapter Avill be described an interesting 
illusion called " She," in which the lady disappears while being supposed to be 
cremated. This ingenious trick depends for a portion of the effect upon 
mirrors, so it is placed with the other illusions requiring the aid of mirrors. 



A trick known by the name of the Indian Trunk, tlie Mysterious Trunk, 
the Packer's Surprise, etc., formerly had much success in theaters of presti- 
digitation. This trick, wliich may be presented in several ways, is executed by 
different means, one of wliich we shall describe. 

The following is in what the experiment consists: The prestidigitateur has 
a trunk brought to him, which he allows the spectators to examine. When 
every one is certain that it contains no mechanism, a person comes upon the 
stage and enters the trunk. It is found that he fills it entirely, and the cover 
is shut down. A spectator locks the trunk and guards the padlock. 

The trunk is afterward wound in all directions with rope, the intersections 
of the latter are sealed, and the whole is introduced into a bag provided with 
leather straps, and which may in its turn l)e sealed at each of its buckles. 
When the operation is finished, the spectators who have aided in the packing 
remain on the spot to see that nothing makes its exit from the trunk, which has 
been placed upon two wooden horses. The prestidigitateur then fires a pistol 
over the trunk, which, when divested of its covering, ropes, and unbroken seals, 
is found to be entirely empty. 

The whole credit of the trick is due to the cabinet maker who con.structed 
the trunk. The latter, in the first place, is exactly like an ordinary trunk, 
and the closest examination reveals nothing out of the way about it. Yet one 
of the ends, instead of being nailed, is secured by a pivot to the two long 
sides, so that it can swing. The swinging motion is arrested by a spring plate 
bolt. When the person in the interior presses upon a point corresponding to 
this bolt, the pivot turns freely and the end of the trunk swings. 

The following is the way that the operation is performed in order that the 
spectators may not perceive the opening of the trunk. The operator's assist- 
ant takes his place in the trunk, Avhich is closed and locked and the padlock 
sealed. Some obliging s]iectators then aid in tying the trunk, around which 
the rope is passed twice lengthwise, beginning at the side opposite the opening 
part. T\\(i rope is Uicn passed over iliis ])art and runs in the axis of the pivots. 
Then the trunk, for the convenience of tying, is tilted upon the end where 
the rope passes. It is then that the assistant inclosed in the interior presses 
iiie bolt. '^^I'lic (Mid of llic lriml< tlicii li;is a tendency to open, and as the 
prestidigitateur lias taken care to tilt tlie trunk at a carefully marked point of 
the stage fioor, the movable end meets in the latter with an exactly similar 
lra|) tlint opens at ihe same liinc. iiiul it is llirough these two tra])S that the 
invisible vanishing takes ])la(;e. As soon as tlie assistant has passed through 
the trap, he pushes up the latter, and conse(pu'ntly the movable end of the 
trunk, which closes upon its spring ])late bolt. 

The time that it takes Ihe man to pass through the trap is insignificant, 


and while the ropes are being crossed the operation might he j^erformed several 
times. Afterward, there is nothing to be done but to proceed with the experi- 
ment as we have said, care being taken, however, not to abuse the complaisance 
of the spectators, and not to allow them to try the weight of the trunk. 

When the vanished person descends beneath the stage, he is supported by 
some other individual if the theater is not well appointed, and by a trap with a 
counterpoise if the construction of the stage admits of it. This trap permits 
of expediting things in certain cases of the reapj^earance of the confederate, 
but is useless in the process described above. 

Such is one of the artifices employed. Whatever be the process, the 
presentation of it is often complicated by causing the person who has vanished 
to reappear in a second trunk that has previously been ascertained to be empty 
and that has been sealed and enveloped under the eyes of the spectators. It 
will be easily comprehended that the operation here is reversed, and that the 
confederate beneath the stage awaits the proper moment to be lifted into the 
interior of the second trunk, whose movable end is opened outwardly by the 
prestidigitateur at the desired moment. 

Boxes with glass sides also have been constructed. Tlie management is the 
same, but, as the person inclosed is visible up to the last moment, care must be 
taken to so pass the ropes as not to interfere with the trap of the trunk, which 
then consists of one of the sides, and which operates at the moment when 
the trunk, bound with ropes, sealed and laid upon this side, is about to be 
wrapped up. This presentation has still more effect upon the sj)ectators than 
tbe preceding, and seems to present greater difficulties. 


Among the most remarkable experiments performed by prestidigitateurs 
should be cited that of the Indian basket, which, as its name indicates, is of 
Asiatic origin. Travelers in Hindostan have often told us that the Indians 
practice this wonderful trick upon the public places. The Indian magician 
makes use of an oblong osier basket provided with a cover. He takes a child 
and incloses it in this basket, and around the latter buckles a belt. Grasping 
a sword, he thrusts it into the basket here and there, and pulls out the blade 
all dripping with blood. 

The spectacle is shocking, and the feelings of the s])octators become 
wrought up to a high pitch. The magicinn ilicii ojjcus the basket, which, to 
the surprise of all, is empty. 

At a few yards distance cries are licard jU'occHMling fi-oiu ilie cliild wlio had 
been inclosed in the basket, and who is now running forward sound and happy. 
Kobert-lfoudin, who studied iliis juggler's iv'wk, cxplMincd it perfectly, and was 



able to perform it himself. The basket used by the Indian prostidi^ritateiirs 
is represented herewith. 

Fig. 1 shows the basket open ready to receive the child. For the sake 
of the explanation we have cut away one end. This basket is provided with a 
double movable bottom, 
A C B, the center of mo- 
tion of which is at C. In 
order to make the child 
disappear, the cover being- 
closed, the top of the bas- 
ket is lowered by turning 
it toward the spectators 
(Fig. 3). But the bottom, 
B, and the part A, that de- 
pends upon it, do not take 
part in this motion. The 
weight of the child lying 
upon the bottom forces the 
latter to remain in place, 
and by this fact the part 
A C shuts off the bottom of 
the basket (Fig. 2). 

In order to turn the 
basket over, the Indian 
fastens it with strips of 
leather, and, to facilitate 
this operation, places his 
knee on it. The child can 
then easily hide himself under the robe worn by the magician. Replacing the 
basket in its first position, the Indian insei'ts his sword and sticks the l)lade into 
a small sponge fixed within and saturated witli a red liquid. Wliile Ihe atten- 
tion of the spectators is absorbed by this exciting operation, the little Indian 
escapes from beneath the robe, and runs a short distance from tlie spectators 
without being seen. Iloudin says that when this trick is well performed, it has 
a startling effect. In all the preceding tricks the magician has made way bod- 
ily with assistants, we now come to a case of mutilation in which the luckless 
clown must suffer decapitation. 




The means employed in this illusion is the old-fashioned " defunct " 
method of decapitation, and although this lacks the refinement and scientific 
interest of execution by electricity, it has a certain precision. 


The poor clown who sufi^ers the death penalty twelve times a week usually 
enters the circus ring, or appears on the stage, as the case may be, and after 
performing certain acrobaiic feats, commits some crime against his fellows, 
for which lie is condemned to die. He is ])laced u])on the block; his head is 
covercfl with a cloth. Harlequin approaches as executioner, and begins to cut 
with a huge knife across the victim's neck. In a moment all is over, the cloth 
is removed, and lljir'lcciuin lifts in the air the severed head. Deligliterl with 
his trophy, he carries it about under his arm, ])laces it in a cliarger in the center 
of the ring, and finally takes it back to the T)lock wrap])ed up in the cloth, and 
places it by the side of the headless trunk. lie removes the cloth, and 



then in sport places a lighted cigarette in its mouth. In a little while you 
notice that the cigarette begins to glow, smoke comes from the nose, and the 
eyes roll. Evidently the head has come to life. Not able to bear the horrible 
sight, he throws the cloth again over the head, seizes it, places it in its original 
position on the shoulders of the victim, kneads it to the body, and suddenly 
the figure rises, head and all, and bows to the audience — an orthodox clown. 


The trick is a good one, and takes with the audience. The way in which it is 
done is explained in the second cut. 

As soon as the clown lies on the box and his head has been covered with the 
cloth, he passes his head through an invisible opening in the top of the box. 
An assistant inside of the box passes up the dummy head, which is an exact 
facsimile of the clown's head and face. This is seized by Harlequin, who 
makes such sport of it as he sees fit. When he places it by the side of the 
trunk, in reality he passes it through an opening in the top of the box to the 
assistant within, who substitutes his own head (which is painted to match the 
other two) in place of it. The other steps in the performance readily follow. 


I'he cloth which the harlequin always carries conceals all the sleight of hand, 
and the whole performance is a series of surprises. 

Another performance of a somewhat similar character was recently per- 
formed at a theater in New York^ in which a clown throws himself on a sofa 
and is cut in two by a harlequin. One part of the sofa with the body remains 
in one part of the stage w^hile the other part with the legs and feet (which are 
all the time vigorously kicking) disappear through a wing at the other end of 
the stage. The action is very sudden and the effect startling. Of course, in 
this case there are two men similarly dressed. The head and body of one of 
them appears at the head of the sofa, while the body of the second clown is 
concealed in the box under the seat at the other end of the sofa, the feet and 
legs alone being exposed. 


The following article is not written with the intention or desire to antago- 
nize any believer in Spiritualism, but merely to explain how anti-spiritualists, 
as well as several professional " mediums," secured their release after being 
fastened in their cabinet. During the years the writer (Mr. Caulk) has been 
before the public as a magician and cabinet performer, he has met a number 
of cabinet test " mediums," and can safely say that all of these people who have 
come under his observation have been imposters. This may be due, however, 
to the bad fortune of the writer. 

Tlie writer has been tied with ropes, fastened witli handcuffs, brass collars, 
aiid chains, many tijnes in many different cities, and by people who were jvist 
as alert as any investigator of spiritualistic phenomena, yet, unlike many 
" mediums " he has met with, was never exposed. 

The methods used are many, some simple^ others complicated, but all 
mystifying. To the average auditor the most wonderful point is, how does 
the performer release himself after being so securely bound? For the benefit 
of the curious the writer Avill explain a few of the methods by which he has 
secured his release after being fastened by a committee from the audience. 
All anti-spiritualists, as well as several " mediums " personally known to the 
writer, make use of these same methods of release, or otherg founded on the 
same principle. 

Among tbe many successful rope tests, the following is about tlie best. A 
piece of soft cotton rope a])out six feet long, and of tlie size known as sash cord, 
is securely tied around the ])erformer's left wrist, dividing the rope so that 
the ends will be of an equal length. When the committee is satisfied that they 
have Jiiadc tlu' knots secure, tlie performer ])laces liis hands behind him, with 
the right wrist resting over the knots on tlie left wrist, and the ends of the 
rope are S('curely tied together, bringing the knots down tight on the right 
wrist. This appears fair enough, but it is not as fair as it appears, because, 





while the knots are secure enough, there is suflfieient slack between the wrists 

to enable the performer, by giving his right wrist a half turn, to withdraw this 

hand from the rope encircling it. 

The reader may say, '"n^ 

"That is all well enough, » ']^n / 

but how and by what 

means does he secure this 


In ])lacing his hands 

behind him after the rope 

is tied about the left 

wrist, he gives the rope a 

twist and knot with 

over the other, pressing 

the twist down on the 

knot and covering the 

twist and knot with 

the right wrist, which is 

then tied. When ready to release himself, the performer gives his right 

hand and wrist a half turn, releasing the twist lying on the knot, which thus 

liecomes a part of the loop tied around the I'ight wrist, and enlarging it 

sufficiently to enable the performer to pull the right hand free from the rope, 

when he can perform any trick he chooses with the free hand. Our first and 

second engravings show 
the formation of the 
twist, thus making the 
above explanation clear. 
By re])]acing the liand in 
the loop and giving the 
hand a half turn the 
knots can be sliown as 
secure as when first tied. 
T h e " Spiritualistic 
Post Test " is among the 
latest and most successful 
of mechanical fastenings. 
A piece of wood f o u r 
inches square and three 
feet long is given to the 
coiiiinittee, who bore a 
hole through it near one 
end, and then pass an ordinary rope through the hole, tying a knot in the rope 
on each side of the post, pressing the knots against the post so that the rope 



cannot be drawn through the post. The ends of the rope are now unraveled, 
and the post secured to the floor of the cabinet. 

The performer, standing behind the post, places his wrists against the knots 

e^v ffi:->> /M 

S^vK'^N^S,. ^ 


in the rope, one on each side of the })ost, and the unravelled ends of the rope 
are bound around his wrists and tied securely, and all knots are sealed with 
wax. A large nail is driven in the top of the post, to which are fastened cords 
tliat are passed out through the cabinet and held by members of the committee 
in order that they may know if the performer moves the post in any manner 
(luring ihc ])erforiiunice of any test, such as the ringing of bells, etc. Fig. % 



of our third engraving shows the performer tied to the post and the committee 
hokling the cords. The curtains of the cabinet are closed and the usual nuini- 
festations take place. 

Before the performance a hole is bored in the center of the end of the 
stick or post, in which is placed a chisel-shaped piece of steel sharpened at the 
lower end and blunt at the upper end, as shown in Fig. 3 The opening in the 
end of the post is now carefully closed and all signs of such an ojwning are 
concealed by the aid of glue, sawdust, and a little dirt rubljed over it. 

When the committee are invited to bore a hole in the post, the performer 
takes care to start the bit, in order that there will be no mistake about getting 
the hole directly beneath the chisel concealed in the post. When tlie rope is 
passed through the hole and knotted it is directly under the sharp edge of the 
chisel, with a thin layer of wood between. When the nail is driven in tlie 
top of the post it strikes the chisel, forcing it through the thin sliell of wood 
above the rope and through the rope, thus releasing the performer, wlio can 
withdraw his hands from the post and do any trick he chooses, and when 
finished, by merely replacing the ends of the rope in the holes from Avhich he 
removed them, and holding the hands tight against the post, can allow a most 
rigid examination of the seals to show that it was not possible for him to liave 
released his hands, and the persons hold- 
ing the cords that are fastened to the 
nail testify that they did not feel any 
movement of the performer or the post. 

The Handcuff Test is a great favorite 
of the " medium." In this test the per- 
former uses any pair of handcuff's furnished 
by the audience, and by them put on him. 
Yet, in a very few moments after he takes 
liis place in the cabinet, his coat is thrown 
out, but on examination the handcuffs are 
found to be on his wrists just as they were 
placed by the audience. As a final test, 
the performer comes out of the cabinet 
holding the handcuff's in his hand, removed 
from the wrist but locked. 

The explanation of this trick is very 
simple, but, like many simple tricks, very 
mysterious. There are only a few styles of 
handcuffs made in this country, and all 
that a " medium " has to do is to secure 
the proper key for each style, which keys 
are concealed about the person, and by the aid of fingers and teeth tlie j)r()per 
key can be fitted to the handcuffs. In some types of handcuffs it is impossible 



to get the fiugers to the key -hole. If such a pair is placed on the performer aud 
he cannot use his teeth to hold the key, he slips the key in a crack in the 
chair or cabinet, which crack he makes sure is there before undertaking the 
test, thus holding the key and unlocking the handcuffs. 

As the space allotted for this article is limited, the writer will explain 
but one other piece of apparatus used to secure the " medium," which is known 
as the Spirit Collar. 

The collar is made of brass, and fits closely about the performer's neck. 
Through the openings in the ends of the collar is passed a chain, after the 
collar is on the ^performer's neck, and this chain is passed around a post, 
carried back and through the padlock which is used to lock the collar. By this 
arrangement the performer is fastened securel}'' to a post, at least it appears so 
to the audience. This collar is shown in our fourth engraving. As seen by 
the cut, the collar is decorated with a number of small bolts, which impart to 
it an additional appearance of strength. 

These bolts are all false Avith one exception. This genuine bolt can be 
removed by the performer when the collar is on his neck, thus allowing the 
collar to come apart at the hinge, as shown in the cut, thus releasing the per- 
former, allowing him full liberty to perform any trick he wishes, and permit- 
ting him to again apparently fasten himself securely. This loose bolt fits so 
securely that there is no danger of any of the committee removing it with their 
fingers. The performer uses a small wrench to remove the bolt. 



The prestidigitateiir has always been indebted more or less to the use of 
reflection from mirrors and j^late glass as an important adjunct in conjuring. 
Many of the illusions in the succeeding pages have often been used as an enter- 
tainment in themselves so that it might really be termed " side show science." 
Without doubt the most famous of all the illusions in which effects of ligliting 
are used is " Pepper's Ghost " which was devised by that eminent experimentor 
on physical and chemical science, John Henry Pepper. There are a number 
of variations of the Pepper Ghost of which the " Cabaret du Neant " is an 
excellent example. 


The name " C aha ret du Neant, ^^ or "Tavern of the Dead" ("non-exist- 
ing "), has been given by the proprietors to a recent Parisian sensation ; it was 
also exhibited in New York. The interest of course centers in the ghost illu- 

The spectators on entering the Caharet pass through a long hall hung with 
black and find themselves in a spectral restaurant. Along the walls coffins are 
placed for tables, and on the end of each coffin is a burning candle. From 
the center of the ceiling hangs what is termed " Robert Macaire's chandelier," 
made to all appearances of bones and skulls. The spectators are here at liberty 
to seat themselves at the tables and are served with what ihey desire by a 
mournful waiter dressed like a French mourner with a long crape streamer 
hanging from his silk hat. Around the walls of the room are placed pictures 
to which the spectator's attention is called by the lecturer. Seen by the light 
of the room these pictures are ordinary scenes, but a new aspect is given to each 
when lights directly behind it are turned on; the figures in it appear as skele- 
tons, each picture being in fact a transparency giving a different effect as it is 
lighted from the rear or as seen simply by reflected light. The second chamber 
is now entered; it is hung with black throughout. On the walls tears are 
painted, and in close juxtaposition are two somewhat incongruous inscriptions, 
" Requiescat in pace," and " No smoking." The reason for the latter admoni- 


tion, which is also given by the lecturer, is that for the success of the illusion 
an absolutely clear atmosphere is essential. At the end of this second chamber, 
at the back of a stage, is seen a coffin standing upright, in which one of the 
audience is requested to place himself. Entering the stage by the side door, 
he is conducted by an attendant to the coffin and placed in it. Blocks of wood 
are placed for him to stand on in quantity sufficient to bring his head to the 
right height so that the top of it just presses against the top of the coffin, and 
the attendant with great care adjusts his height according to the predetermined 


position. Two rows of Argand burners illuminate his figure, which is then 
wrapped in a white sheet. Now, as the spectators watch him, he gradually 
dissolves or fades away and in his place appears a skeleton in the coffin. 
Again, at the word of command the skeleton in its turn slowly disappears, and 
the draped figure of the spectator appears again. The illusion is perfect to the 
outer audience; the one in the coffm sees absolutely nothing out of the com- 
mon. His interest, if he knows what is going on, is centered in watching the 
changing expression of the spectators, being increased by the fact that at their 
period of greatest astonishment he is absolutely invisible, although directly 
before them and seeing them more plainly than ever. After the restoration 
to life one or more auditors are put through the same performance, so that 
the recent occupant of the coffin can see what he has gone through. 

The third chamber is now entered, somewhat similar to the second, but on 



its stage is a table and seat, all the walls Leing lined with black. One of the 
auditors is invited to seat himself at the table on the stage. Ho does it, and, 
as before, sees nothing. 

AYhile the description of 
the lecturer and the ap- 
pearance and comments 
of the audience tell him 
that something very in- 
teresting is going on, the 
remarks will probably 
disclose to him the fact 
that this time at least he 
is never out of their 
sight. He leaves the 
stage and his place is 
taken by another, and 
then he understands the 
nature of the drama in 
which he has been an 
unconscious participator. 
He sees the other spec- 
tator seated alone at the 
table. Suddenly a spirit, 

perhaps of an old man, appears at the other side of the table, while a bottle and 
glass are seen upon the table. When exhorted to help himself to the liquid, 
the performing spectator's idle gestures show that he certainly does not see 
the glass, through which his hand passes unobstructed. Or perhaps it is a 
woman who appears and makes the most alluring gestures toward him who 
never sees her. This concludes the exhibition, which as accessory has the 
strains of a funeral march, the ringing of deep-sounding bells as room after 
room is entered, and the appearance of a brown-robed monk who acts as 
Charon to introduce the spectator to his place in the coffin. In one of our 
illustrations we show, side by side, the coffin with its living occupant draped 
in a sheet and in the other the skeleton which appears in his place. Two other 
cuts show the scenes between the spectator at the table and the specters, illus- 
trating how active a part the specters take, they being no mere painted appear- 
ances, but evidently living, moving things. Our large illustration shows pre- 
cisely how it is done and so clearly that an explanation is hardly needed. The 
floor of the stage is represented. To the left are seen the spectators and the 
performer at the piano discoursing his lugubrious melodies. To the right is 
seen Charon, and directly in front of him the coffin with its living occupant. 
"When lighted up by the burners shown near him, the other burners being 
turned down, the coffin with its occupant is all that is seen by the spectator. 




Directly in front of the coffin, crossing the stage ol)liquely, is a large sheet 
of the clearest plate glass, which offers no impediment to the view of the coffin 
with its occupant, when the latter is fully illuminated. At one side of the 
stage, in the back of the 
})icture, is a painting of 
a skeleton in a coilin 
with its own set of Ar- 
gand burners. It is 
screened from view. 
When strongly illumi- 
nated, and when the 
lights of the real coffin 
are turned down, the 
spectators see reflected 
from the glass a brilliant 
image of the pictured 
coffin and skeleton. By 
turning up one set of 
burners as the others are 
turned down a perfect 
dissolving effect is ob- 
tained, skeleton replac- 
ing spectator and vice 
versa at the will of the 

The magic lantern operator always realizes that to secure a good dissolving 
effect perfect registration is essential. In the securing of this lies the secret 
of the coffin exhibit of the Cabaret du Neant. By the blocks on which the 
occupant of the coffin stands, and by the adjustment of his liead by the at- 
tendant, the head is brought into perfect registration with the reflected head 
of the skeleton. The wrapping with the sheet, presumably the enveloping in 
a shroud, is done with a purpose. It covers the body from the shoulders down 
and extends to the very bottom of the coffin, covering the blocks also, thus 
doing away with all defects of registration which would be inciirred in the 
persons of spectators of different heights. In other words, tlie exhibition fits 
out everybody with a skeleton of precisely the same height, however tall or 
short he may be, the draping of the sheet and accurate position of the head 
concealing from the spectators this inaccuracy, the skull occupying precisely 
the place of the head, the rest taking care of itself. 

Still referring to the large cut, it Avill be seen that it serves to explain the 
exhibition in the other chamber. Instead of the coffin there is the table and 
chair, and in place of the pictured skeleton a live performer is placed. In this 
act there is no dissolving effect; by turning up the lights at the side of the 



stage any object desired and performers dressed as spirits are made to appear 
upon the stage, being reflected from the glass plate. The spectators simul- 
taneously see their companion sitting at the table and the reflections of the 
ghosts apparently executing tlieir movements about him. 

From the scientific as well as scenic aspect, the exhibition is most interest- 
ing, and to one who knows how it is performed, the interest is vastly enhanced. 
To properly enjoy it, the stage position should be taken during one or both 



In this illusion the spectators are separated from the stage by a balustrade 
— behind which is seen the curtain. In a few moments the latter is drawn 
back and there is distinctly seen a woman's body the lower part of which is 
hidden by a basket of flowers. This body has three heads, one in the middle 
and two others grafted at the base of the neck of the first. The heads move 
their eyes, answer questions and sing, and finally salute the audience, and the 
curtains are drawn together and the 2')erformance is over. As in many tricks 

of this kind the showman 
usually announces that for 
an additional admission the 
secret of the illusion will be 
divulged. The visitor then 
enters the side scene and 
perceives that on the little 
stage where the phenom- 
enal woman just appeared, 
nothing is visible but a 
large plate of glass slightly 
inclined towards the audi- 
ence and its edges hidden 
by drapery. Behind the 
mirror there is a recess 
whose sides are covered 
with a jet black fabric. In 
front of the mirror on the 
stage sits the basket of 
flowers from which issued 
the woman's body. On an inclined board which rests against the screen or 
balustrade lie three young girls; one of these, the middle one, is clothed in 
a ])rilliaut costume of light-colored silk, and it is she who in the exhibi- 
tion makes trunk, arms, and the middle head. The lower part of her body 




is covered over with a black fabric and she is supported by a cushion which 
permits the two other girls to place their necks closely against hers. The 
bodies of these two girls at the sides are completely covered with fabric of a 
dead black color. In front of these three young women are placed powerful 
lights. The heads, hair, and arms of the " body " are covered with powder 
so as to present completely white surfaces. All the white or light-colored 
surfaces being strongly lighted by the lamps reflect, the light; the image is 
thus made upon the spectator. ■ 


This illusion, which is presented under the name of " Amphitrite," is as 
follows: When the representation is about to begin, the curtain of a small stage 



rises. There is observed a circular aperture, cut in a screen, over which is 
stretched transparent muslin. 

About six feet behind the latter there is a scene representing the sky with 
clouds; below, in the foreground, there is a canvas representing the sea. 


" Ampliitrite, come forth!" exclaims the person in charge of the show. 
All at once, a woman in the costume of an opera nymph rises from the sea 
without anything being visible to support her in space, in which she turns 
round and round, gracefully moving her legs and arms, now in one direction, 
and then in another. When the exhibition is at an end, she straightens out 
m the position of a swimmer about to make a dive, and plunges behind the 
curtain representing the ocean. 

The illusion that we have just described may be performed as follows: 
Amphitrite is an image — a specter analogous to those of Robin. If we im- 
agine that a trans- 
l)arent glass, M M., in 
our diagram, is in- 
clined 45° with re- 
spect to the stage, a 
person clad in light 
clothing, lying hori- 
zontally upon a black 
background beneath 
the stage, and well 
illuminated, will ex- 
hibit an upright im- 
age behind the glass. 
This image will 
a])pear to be formed 
in front of the back 
canvas, T T. Now, 
as Am])hitrite is lying upon a table, P P, she will be able to go throiigh her 
evolutions and bend herself in a circle; and if, during this time, the table, 
movable upon its axis, A, is revolved, her image will turn in all directions. 
Finally, to cause Amphitrite to appear or disappear, it will suffice to slide the 
table upon rails, thus bringing it in front of or behind the glass. Amphitrite 
should be placed upon an absolutely black background. Her costume should 
be of a light color with metallic spangles, and she should be illuminated by 
a powerful electric light. 

The muslin stretched in front of the screen is designed to arrest anything 
that jesters might throw against the glass, and which, sticking thereto might 
explain a part of the mystery. 

diagram: explaining the amphitrite illusion. 




In this illusion which was presented at the " Folies Bergeres," at Paris,, the 
stage is rather larger than in most of the talking heads and other analogous 
tricks. At a short distance from the spectator is observed a woman cut off 
at the thighs and resting on a small swinging shelf. The showman moves the 
shelf laterally, and at a signal the exhibitor removes the shelf, and the half- 
length body appears suspended in the air. The question which every visitor 
asks is, where is the rest of the body ? In many of the tricks of talking heads, 
isolated busts, etc., the illusion is obtained by the aid of mirrors, but the mys- 
tery of Dr. Lynn is obtained in a much simpler manner. All painters 
know that in a very strongly lighted picture the bright colors stand out at 
the expense of the half-tones and dark colors, and this effect is greater as the 
light becomes brighter. It is upon this principle that the Dr. Lynn trick is 
based. The lower part of the bust seen is a dummy upon which the upper part 
of the woman's body lies, the remainder of her body being extended nearly 
horizontally upon a board which is capable of swinging and following the 
motion of the shelf. 
All this portion is 
hidden by opaque 
black drapery so ar- 
ranged as not to re- 
flect the light at any 
point. The bust and 
shelf receive a very 
intense light ; then 
immediately behind 
there is seen intense 
darkness, forming an 
■absolutely dark back- 
ground. The latter is 
rendered still darker 
by the brilliant cords 

of the shelf, a metallic chain and a dagger suspended beneath it, as well as a 
white handkerchief which seems to have been dropped upon the stage by 
accident. At least six powerful gas burners or electric lights with reflectors 
are turned towards the spectators, so that it will be seen that the latter are in 
a manner dazzled by everything that strikes the eye in the foreground, and that 
beyond this they see absolutely nothing but a black background. 

Another variation of the illusion of the "Decapitated Princess," wliich will 
be described later on, is obtained without the aid of mirrors. A young girl 



appears before the audience, accompanied by an executioner clad in red, and 
armed with the traditional axe of his profession. The curtain then drops, and 
rises in a few moments, the stage being somewhat darkened. Near the exe- 
cutioner can be perfectly distinguished the girl's head lying on a round table 
at the back of the stage. The body is seen lying on the bed a few feet from 
her head and at her side is the fatal block that had served for execution. The 
trick is the same as the preceding one; it requires, however, two persons of the 
same size, wearing the same costume, to carry out the illusion successfully. 
One of these, the one who shows herself to the public, makes the head, her 
body being hidden behind the cloth in the rear of the stage, which is in dark- 
ness, as has just been explained. The other, who makes the body, has her head 
bent far back and hidden in a sort of box, a false cardboard neck contributing 
to increase the illusion. 


To the Yogi and Mahatmas of India, the magicians and illusionists of 
Europe and America are indebted for the ideas of many of their best tricks 
and illusions. While the published reports of many of the alleged marvelous 
effects produced by the " wonder workers " of India must be taken with a very 
large amount of salt, yet we riiust give these people due credit for being the 
originators of many tricks from which the modern magician has taken prin- 
ciples on which he has founded and created several of the grandest and most 
successful illusions of modern times. 

Take, for instance, the illusion known as " Black Art," or the " Midnight 
Mysteries of the Yogi," made famous in this country by those master minds 
of magic, Harry Kellar and the late Alexander Hermann. The weird illu- 
sion is founded on an idea advanced by the Yogi of India. 

No doubt nearly all of the readers of this article have seen " Black Art " 
presented by one of the above named magicians, yet the number who could 
advance a plausible explanation of how it was done, are very few, because as 
soon as one thinks that he has discovered the secret, the performer produces 
an effect in direct variance witli the principle on which the illusion appears 
to be founded. 

In this illusion the entire stage froin tlie first groove to the rear is hung 
witli black velvet, the floor covered with black felt, and the top is covered 
with black velvet, thus forining a large room lined entirely in black. The 
regular footlights are turned out, and a special set are used, that consist of 
a row of open gas jets ])laeed on a line with the boxes, and carried up the out- 
side of the black room, as shown in the large engraving. 

The lights tlirougliout tlie entire house arc either turned very low or put 
out, with the exception of the special lights mentioned above. 


The curtain rises, disclosing the black chamber. In a moment the magician 
appears, dressed in a white suit; a wave of his hand, and a white wand appears 
floating in the air, which the magician secures. A wave of the wand, and a 
table appears on the right, then a second table appears on the left. A large 
vase appears on one of the tables, and a second vase appears on the magician's 
outstretched hand. Both of the vases are shown and proven empty, and in 
one is placed a few orange seeds, and the wand is passed over the vase, which 
instantly becomes filled with oranges. The oranges are poured into the second. 


then returned to the first vase, when they disa])p('ar as quickly and as mysteri- 
ously as they appeared, and the vases are again sho\\n em])ty, and again placed 
one on each of the tables. A borrowed watch is placed in one of the vases, 
from which it disappears and is found in ihc; vase on the other ta1)le. A life- 
size skeleton now appears and dances around tlic stage, becomes dismembered, 
the separated parts floating about, but they finally rearticulate themselves, and 
the skeleton vanishes. Now a rabbit is seen in one of the vases, from which 
it is taken by the performer, and in liis hands it becomes two, which are 
tossed in the air and disappear. 

The number and stylo of tricks performed in tlie mysterious black chamber 



are almost unlimited, but an explanation of the ones mentioned above will 
suffice to show how " Black Art " is performed. 

While the stage is draped in black, everything that appears is painted white, 
and the magician is dressed in white. There is an assistant on the stage all 
through the act, but as he is dressed in black, with gloves on his hands and a 
hood over his head, made of black velvet, he is not seen by the spectators, whose 
sight is somewhat dazzled by the open gas jets. The tables are on the stage, 


but covered with pieces of Ijlack velvet, rendering tliem invisible. The second 
engraving shows how the assistaiit removes the piece of velvet and causes a 
table to appear at the magician's command. 

The vases are also s-itting on the stage, but covered with pieces of black 
velvet. By picking up the covered vases the assistant can cause tbem to 
appear, by removing the velvet, one on the table and the other on the per- 
former's hand. The oranges are in a black velvet bag, from which the assist- 
ant pours them into the vase. To cause the oranges to vanish, the magician, 
mstead of pouring them into tbe vase, pours them into the open mouth of a 
large black bag held by the assistant just over the lower vase. The transposi- 


tion of the watch from one vase to the other is just as easy. The assistant 
merely removes it from the vase in which the performer placed it, and places 
it in the second vase. The manipulation of the rabbit is equally simple. The 
assistant places the first one in the vase by means of a black bag in which it 
was concealed, then places the second one in the performer's hands from a 
second small bag. In vanishing the rabbits the performer merely tosses them 
up into a large open-mouthed black bag held by the assistant. 

The skeleton is made of papier 
mache, painted white, and fas- 
tened on a thin board that is 
sawed to shape and covered with 
black velvet. One arm and one 
leg are jointed so as to be readily 
removed and replaced by the 
assistant when he is operating the 
skeleton. The last two illustra- 
tions fully explain the method of 
construction and manipulation of 
the skeleton. 

The tables are made either of 
wood or papier mache and painted 
white. The vases are made of 
papier mache, painted white on 
the outside and black on the in- 
side. The reason the inside of 
the vases are painted black is to 
o^ih^v^^. prevent the hand of the assistant 


the vase. 
This is one of the most expensive of stage illusions, costing several hundred 
dollars to properly stage it with the best drapery and accessories, and unless 
sucli are used the proper illusory effect is lost. In magic as well as in other 
business, cheap apparatus is dear at any price. 




Probably the most common of all of the illusions which depend uj^on 
mirrors is the Talking Head uj)on a table. The illustration is almost self- 
explanatory. The apparatus consists only of a mirror fixed to the side legs of 
the table. The mirror hides the body of the girl, who is on her knees and 
seated on a small stool^ and reflects the straw which covers the floor so as to 


make it appear continuous under the table; likewise it reflects the front leg of 
the table so as to make it appear at an equal distance from the other side and 
thus produce the illusion of the fourth leg. It also reflects the end of the red 
fabric hanging in front of the table and thus makes it appear to hang down 
from behind. The visitor stands only a few inches away from the table and 
head. Such proximity of the spectator and actor would seem to favor the 
discovery of the trick, but on the contrary it is indispensable to its success. 


This illusion is a very ingenious improvement on the " Talking Head." 
On entering the small booth in which it is usually exhibited, we perceive 



an elegant little room decorated with flowers and lights and hung with 
tapestry. In front there are two railings and the floor is covered with a 
carpet. In the center is seen a small table on which rests a kind of three- 
legged stool supporting a cushion and the half body. The lady shows she has 
arrived by moving her arms and head and speaking and singing. Tiie visitor 
can see the four legs of the table and can perfectly distinguish the space under 
the stool, the whole scene being brilliantly lighted, contrary to the usual 
custom in any such illusions. 
The secret of the illusion is as 

The stool is formed only 
of a hollowed out disk whose 
supports are connected by two 
mirrors that make with each 
other an angle of forty-five 
degrees. These mirrors rest on 
the top of the table which was 
decorated in regular designs 
in mosaic and reflect the latter 
in such a way that they seem 
to continue uninterruptedly 
under the stool. The table 
presents an analogous arrange- 
ment, its side legs being con- 
nected with the middle one by 
two mirrors. These mirrors 

reflect not only the designs of the carpet which by their continuity produce 
the illusion of a vacancy, but also two table legs located on each side behind 
the railing, as shown in our small engraving; the mirror to the left transmits 
to the spectators on that side the image of the leg placed on the left and this 
image seems to them to be the fourth leg of the table. The mirror to the 
right plays the same rdU with regard to the spectators on that side. These 
mirrors in addition hide the lower part of the girl's body. 




During the season of 1891-92, among various interesting things to be seen 
at the Eden Musee, perhaps tlie most interesting, and at tlie same time tlie most 
scientific, was the weird spectacle entitled " She," exhibited by Powell, the 





well-known illusionist, and suggested by the Cave sceue in H. Eider Haggard's 
celebrated novel " She." 

In this scene a beautiful young lady mounts a table arranged in an alcove 
formed by a folding screen. Above the victim is suspended a cylindrical cloth 
screen. The screen is lowered to the level of the table, completely inclosing 
the subject. The table apparently has four legs, and four candles shown 
beneath it indicate that the space underneath the table is open and clear. The 
cylindrical screen is shown to be entire, with openings only at the upper 






and lower endS;, and no openings are seen in tlie folding screen which partly 
surrounds the table. Upon the firing of a pistol the occupant of the table is 
ignited, and smoke and flame bursting from the screen indicate that the 
work of destruction is going on within. When the fire is burned out the screen 
is lifted, and nothing remains upon the table but a few smouldering embers 
and a pile of bones surmounted by a skull. Close observation does not reveal 
any way of escape for the young woman. It is, however, obvious that the 
magician cannot afford to sacrifice such a subject every evening, and the spec- 
tators are forced to conclude that the whole affair is a very clever trick. In 
fact, it is simply a modification of the beheaded lady and numerous other 
tricks based upon the use of plane mirrors. The table has but two legs, the 

other two which appear being simply 
l|, reflections. The central standard sup- 

j ports but two candles, the other two 

being reflections. Underneath the table, 
and converging at the central standard, 
are arranged two plane mirrors at an 
angle of 90° with each other and 45° 
with the side panels of the screen. By 
means of this arrangement the side 
panels, which are of the same color as the 
central or back panel, are reflected in 
the mirror and appear as a continuation 
of the back 2:)anel. The triangular box, 
of which the mirrors form two sides, has 
a top composed in part of the table top 
and in part of mirror sections for reflect- 
ing the back panel, or with a covering 
of the same color as the back panel. 

The operation of the apparatus is 
now obvious. Wlien the victim is in- 
closed by the cylindrical screen, she 
immediately escapes through a trap door in the table top, places the bones and 
the fireworks u])on the table, and at the firing of the pistol ignites the latter 
and retires, closing tlie trap door after her. 




One of Mr. Kellar's recent illusions is what lie is pleased to call " The 
Queen of Flowers." Our first engraving represents the stage as the audience 
sees it, and the last cut will help to explain it to the reader. The back- 
ground, set against curtains, is about ten feet long and eight feet high, and 
represents a mass of flowers and bushes indiscriminately thrown together, with 



blue sky above. There is a little flat roof which projects out about three feet 
from the bottom of the screen and is supported by four red j^oles. The 
bottom is a floor raised about a foot from the stage^ and in front of each of the 
three divisions made by the poles between the stage proper and the floor of this 
improvised summer house is placed an electric light. The audience usually 
wonders what these lights are for in this strange place; but as audiences always 
accept anything shown them by the prestidigitateur, these lights do not disturb 



them very much except by dazzling them, as they are meant to do. So much 
for the setting. There being no doors or screens or curtains of any kind, the 
spectators have the satisfied feeling that there is no deception there, for they 
can see all there is to see. They can, that is true, only they don't realize how 
much they are seeing. 

]\rr. Kellar next brings a semicircular stand which he ])laces in front of the 
middle ])anel at the height of the floor. At the roof is fixed a brass rod in the 
form of a semicircle, from whicli hangs a curtain inclosing the little stand. 
This, liowever, cannot do much good, for, as Mr. Kellar says, tliose on the 
extreme right and left of the audience can still see quite behind the curtain, 
through the summer house, and they believe him, not only because he told 



them so, but because they can see with their own eyes. What coukl be more 
convincing! In a moment the curtain is withdrawn and a beautiful lady 
surrounded by flowers is seen standing on the little platform. 

The last engraving will explain matters. The lines extending from the 
two center poles to the background represent double mirrors; tbat is, each 
mirror consists of two mirrors back to back, running from the iloor to the 
roof of the summer house. On account of the indefinite arrangement of the 
flowers painted on the back scene in monotonous design, the spectators do 
not notice the mirrors. These, of course, form a passageway through which 
anyone can walk from behind the scenes to the stand behind the curtain, 
while the audience is still keeping guard with its ever watchful eye. 


In this illusion the exhil)itor states that it is the head of an Egyptian 
Princess who was accused of treason and beheaded. The head is exhibited in 



a curtained recess and it rejioses upon two swords lying across the arms of the 
chair. The chair is upliolstered in red plusli and is placed close to the curtain 
at the back of the recess. At the back of the chair is an opening just below 
the level of the tops of the chair arms. This opening is not seen from the 
front, as it is concealed by a mirror that is placed between the arms of the 
chair at an angle of 45°. The ends of the mirror rest in folds of the fan-shape 



upholstering on the inside of the chair arms. The lower edge of the mirror 
is resting on the bottom of the chair and the upper edge is concealed by laying 
one of the swords on it, as may be seen in the other illustration. At the 
proper angle the bottom of tlic cliair is reflected in the mirror, leaving the 
impression that one is looking at the back. The folds in the upholstering of 
the inside of the arms eirectually conceal the ends of the mirror. There is a 
hole in the rear curtain directly opposite the hole in the chair back, through 



which there passes a board supported at one end by resting on the seat of the 
chair and at the other end by a small box or any convenient article. 

The lady who is to impersonate the princess takes her position on this board 
with her chin just above the edge of the mirror, the second sword is placed at 
the back of her head and a wide lace collar that she wears around her neck is 
adjusted so as to rest nicely on the two. swords. The second illustration shows 
the board in position, passed through the curtain, with the lady lying on it, 
her head on the swords and the lace collar in position. The curtain in the rear 
must be close to the chair, but the side curtains are removed about five feet. 
The board is padded so as to make the lady as comfortaljle as possible. 


The following illusion is similar to the " Decapitated Princess." A small 
stage is partitioned off l)y curtains. In the center of tlie stage, suspended in 


space, is a young girl's head, the neck of which starts from a satin collar. 
This head is isolated on every side. One sees the rear of the stage, the sides, 
the top and the bottom, and the brilliant illumination leaves no portion in 
shadow. The head speaks and smiles and finally blows out a lighted candle. 
The exhibitor then disappears behind the side scenes with the candle. 


He now, as it seems, draws out a panel in the back of the stage, and through 
the aperture thus formed the spectator very distinctly sees the top of a table 
and upon it a candle which the head has just extinguished. Now this aperture 
is directly under the head, but much farther off, and is in the direction the 
body would occupy if the head possessed one. The absence of the body is 
therefore apparently demonstrated to the visitors. 

The illusion was oljtained by means of a simple mirror which starting from 
the upper part of the back of the stage descended obliquely to the front. In 
the center of this there was an opening which was concealed by the satin collar 
and through this the young girl passed her head. The inclination of the 
mirror was, in fact, indicated by a gold rod designed to hide the junction of the 
mirror and the side. The arrangement will be better understood by reference 
to the annexed diagram, which belongs to the same illusion, only the clown is 
substituted for the girl's head. 

Now, by virtue of the optical law that " an object reflected from a mirror 
appears to be behind the latter at a distance equal to that which separates it 

from it," every point of the 
line, M I, reflected from the 
mirror, P M, will appear to 
be situated upon the line, 
M L. 

So, to the spectator lo- 
cated at 0, the point, c, 
reflected at C ' will appear to 
l)e the point, C; the distance, 
c C equaling C C. The 
point, I, reflected at L', will 
appear to be L. And it will 
be the same for all the intermediate points. The spectator, then, will believe 
that he sees the line, M L, when in reality he sees only the reflection of M I. 
Now, as we liuve just said, he will believe that he sees the back of the stage, 
wlien, in fact, he sees nothing but a reflection of the ceiling in the mirror. In 
the same way, the reflection from the front of the ceiling will produce the 
illusion of tlie stage floor. Tliis fact still further contributes to increase the 
illusion, for the spectators are not aware of the diifcrence that exists between 
the arrangement of the y)laco wliere the bust appears and of that of the place 
wh(!r(! the showman is walking. 

In the illusion of '' Stella " the aperture tlirough which the table was seen 
was in reality at the top. The table was vertical and the candle which was 
fifiiily flxcd to it was liorizonfal. '^Plie farce of blowing out the candle and 
ciirrying it behind the scenes was only designed to make the spectators believe 
it was the same candle that was seen at tlie rear of the stage, when in reality 
it was only a duplicate. 




These apparatus were formerly much employed by magicians — Eohert- 
Houdin, for instance. The following is an example of one of the scenes that 
may occur with them: 

When the curtain rises, there is seen in the center, of the stage a large, dark- 
colored cabinet, ornamented with mouldings, and mounted upon legs that are 
a little longer than those of ordinary cabinets, the object being to remove all 
])ossibility of a communication with the stage beneath. These legs are pro- 
vided with casters. The showman turns this cabinet around and shows that 
there is nothing abnormal about it externally. He then asks some of the spec- 
tators to come up close to it, and lets them examine its interior, which is 
entirely empty. There is no double bottom, nor any hiding-place. When the 
Vv^itnesses have made themselves certain of this fact, they station themselves 
around the stage, and a certain number of them even consent to remain behind 
the cabinet and see nothing of the experiment. The cabinet being thus 
surrounded on all sides, and every one being able to look under it, fraud would 
seem to be an impossibility. 

A young woman dressed as a danseuse then comes on the stage and enters 
tlie cabinet, and the doors are closed upon her. In a few moments the doors 
are opened again, when, lo and behold! the closet is empty, the young woman 
having disappeared. Then the doors are closed again, and then opened, and 
the danseuse makes her appearance; and so on. At the end of the experiment 
the witnesses examine the cabinet again, and finding nothing changed therein, 
are justly stupefied. 

In another style of cabinet tliere is no l:»ar in the center, as sliown in our 
engraving, but there is observed on one of the sides in the interior a bracket 
a few centimeters in length, and, back and above this, a shelf. This arrange- 
ment permits of performing a few experiments more than does tlie one just 
described. Thus, when the woman has disappeared, the showman allows a 
young man to enter, and he also disappears, while the young woman is found 
in his place. This is a very surprising substitution. 

The box into which the harlequin takes refuge, and which appears to be 
empty when Pierrot or Cassandra lifts the curtain that shields its entrance, is 
a] so a sort of magic cabinet. 

In a series of lectures delivered a few years ago at tlie London Polytechnic 
Institution, a professor of physics unmasked the secret of some of the tricks 
employed on the stage for producing illusions, and notably that of the magic 
cabinet. The lecturer, after showing the cabinet, and causing the disappear- 
ance therein of an individual while the doors were closed, repeated the same 
experiment with the latter open. But, in the latter case, so quick was the 
















s c 












{.. — 


"~- — . 


disappearance that the spectators could not even then see how it was done. 
The illusion produced by the apparatus is the result of a play of mirrors. 

In the first cabinet de- 
scriljed, when the exhibitor 
has closed the doors upon the 
young woman, the latter pulls 
toward her two mirrors that 
arc rej^resented in our plan 
of the cabinet by the lines, 
G G. These mirrors are 
hinged at 0, and, when 
swung outward, rest by their 
external edges against the 
l)ar, P, and then occupy the 
position shown by the dotted 
lines, G' G'. When the cabi- 
net is again opened, the woman placed at A is hidden by the two mirrors; but 
the appearance of the interior of the cabinet is not changed, since the specta- 
tors see the image of each side reflected from the corresponding mirror, and 
this looks to them like the back of the cabinet. 

The illusion is perfect. When the experiment is ended and the mirrors are 
again swung against the sides, at G G, the spectators see 
nothing but the backs of them, which are covered with 
wood; the cabinet is really empty, and no one can discover 
what modification has taken place in its interior during the 
disappearance of the woman. 

In the second arrangement, which is shown in vertical 
section in our last engraving, the young man gets up on 
the shelf, c n, at the upper part of the cabinet, by the aid 
of the bracket, T, and then pulls down over him the mirror, 
h c, which was fastened to the top of the cabinet. This 
mirror, being inclined at an angle of 45°, reflects the top, 
and the spectators imagine that they see the back of the 
cabinet over the shelf, as they did before. 

The box Avhich Harlequin enters is based upon precisely 
the same principle. Its interior is hung with paper banded 
alternately blue and white. When Harlequin enters it, he 
places himself in one of the angles and pulls toward him 
two mirrors which hide him completely, and which reflect the opposite side 
of the box, so that the spectator is led to believe that he sees the back of it. 
In this case, one of the angles at the back of the box is not apparent, but the 
colored stripes prevent the spectator from noticing the fact. 






We present an engraving of a very interesting optical illusion produced 
with only three mirrors. By multiplying the mirrors the large number of 
different effects can be obtained. 

Let us imagine that three perfectly plain and very clear mirror glasses, as 
large as possible, form a prism whose base is an equilateral triangle. A person 
placed in the interior of this prism will see his image reflected a very large 
number of times. A very simple geometrical construction, and one which we 
recommend our young readers to carry out as an exercise in optics, by the 
simple application of the principle that the angle of incidence is equal to the 
angle of reflection, allows us to see that the image of any point whatever placed 
in the center of this triangle of glass plates will be reproduced indefinitely by 
groups of six images distributed symmetrically around points regularly spaced 
in the prolongations of the planes of the three glasses. 

A person, therefore, sees his image reproduced indefinitely in groups of 
six until, the successive reflections attenuating the intensity of the images, the 
latter cease to be visible. Three or four persons massed in one of the angles 
present the illusion of a compact and mixed crowd standing upon a sidewalk 
and awaiting the passage of a procession. The hats waving in the air convert 
the peaceful waiting into an enthusiastic manifestation, which is so much the 
more surprising in that it is made by but half a dozen persons at the maximum. 

The accompanying figure gives an idea of this remarkable effect, and the 
three persons, whose images reflected ad infinitum produce the curious result 
that we call attention to, would have much trouble to believe that they were 
the subject of an illusion. 

Upon the whole, the experiment is nothing more than an application of 
the principle of the old kaleidoscope enlarged and revived, in the sense that 
the observer has before his eyes the successive reflections of his own image, and 
that the objects are replaced with living beings movable at will. 

Five or six persons may occupy, at the same time, the triangular prism, of 
which the sides are about six feet wide, and whieli they enter through a trap 
in the floor. When these five or six persons are walking al^out in all directions, 
they present the aspect of a tumultuous and agitated crowd commenting upon 
grave events. 



Platinized glass plates are no longer a novelty, but the illusion is very 
effective. The mirrors give an image in the ordinary way when looked at by 
reflected light, but are transparent when observed by transmitted light. The 
metalization of glass with platinum was discovered a great many years ago by 

FIG. 1. 

the Messrs. Dode. This property of transparency by transmitted light affords 
a very clever surprise. The mirrors are set in frames. In a panel behind the 
latter there is an ai)erture closed by a shutter. As the glass is transparent 
there may be seen through it, when the shutter is open, everything that is on 
the other side, so it occurred to the inventors to utilize this transparency by 
placing an image or photograph between the panel and the glass. On exposing 
the mirror to the light to look at one's self in the ordinary way, if the shutter 
is open, the human head will disappear and maj be replaced by the photo- 



graphic portrait or a horned devil, which is placed hehind the mirror. In the 
illusion we illustrate the head of the devil whose body is hidden by two mir- 

FIG. -i. 

rors inclined at an angle of forty-five degrees, as in some of the illusions we 
have already described. As he moves his head and smiles, the effect is rather 
startling. Electric light is used to illuminate the trick. 



At the Italian exhibition held a few wears ago in the Champ de Mars, Paris, 
there was a statue that attracted much attention from the visitors. It repre- 
sented Goethe's Marguerite standing before a mirror. This latter gave by 
reflection the image of Faust, as shown in our engraving. The artifice was 


well concealed by the sculptor. ]n reality, it was not a double statue, but the 
figure of Faust was skillfully obtained by means of the folds of Marguerite's 

Marguerite holds lier arms in front of her, and these same arms form 
those of Faust, who holds tliom crossed beliind his back. Faust's face is 
carved in Marguerite's back hair, and the man's figure is obtained, as before 
slated, by means of the folds of the woman's robe. 



The tricks in this chapter are no less interesting than those which have 
gone before, but are rather of a more miscellaneous nature. The first trick 
which we shall describe, is called " The Illusion of Trilby." 

The late Professor Herrmann won for himself a firm place in the regards 
of the civilized world, representing the fin de siecle Houdin. His carefully 
executed ^^■ork, with its peirfect detail and finish, was a standard among per- 
formances of natural masic, and other exhibitions are referred to it as the gaore 


of their quality. In Herrmann's illusion of "Trilby," hypnotism is supposed to 
play a part. As will be seen, it is really an ingenious application of mechanics. 
A plank is placed upon the backs of two chairs. A lady performer who is 
supposed to represent Du Manner's " Trilby " enters and, stepping on a foot- 
stool, lies down upon the plank. She holds a bouquet in her hand, which bou- 


quet, unknown to the audience, has its own part to play. The other per- 
former, Herrmann, who is supposed to be Svengali, carefully arranges the 
drapery, walking around her as he does so. Then he makes some passes, and 
one by one removes the chairs, and the lady and board remain in the air. In 
response to his passes the lady, still resting on the board, rises, and the position 
changes to an inclined one and back to the horizontal one. Finally the chairs 
are replaced, the lady by passes is supposed to be waked from her trance and 
steps down, chairs and plank are removed, and nothing is to be seen further. 


Two of the cuts show the progress of the performance as seen by the audi- 
ence. The third ctit explains the mechanism. Behind the scenes is a strong 
frame, up and down which a movable slide works. Tackle is provided to raise 
and lower the slide; and a workman behind the scenes is intrusted with its 
manipulation. A bar carrying at its rear end handles, and in front a socket, 
shown in the upper right-hand corner of' the same cut, is journaled in the 
slide, and can also be thrust in and out through the journal box. 

When Trilby has been placed upon her board couch, the bar is thrust for- 
ward, drapery at the back having hitherto concealed its socket end. The fair 
Trilby with her bouquet now effectually conceals it as it emerges from behind 
the curtains. The performer, while apparently sedulously arranging the 
drapery, guides the socket and causes it to grip the board. The assistant 
behind the scene ])ulls u])on the tackle and works the handle, so that Trilby's 



weight leaves the chairs one by one, which are removed, and, supported by 
the bar, she seems to float in air. By manipulating the tackle she can be 
raised and lowered. By 
the handles she can be 
tilted about, giving a 
wonderfully good effect. 
Finally the chairs are 
replaced, and the assist- 
ant lowers Trilby upon 
them. During the wak- 
ing passes the socket is 
detached and the bar is 
withdrawn. A close ob- 
server may notice a 
slight agitation of the 
drapery or curtains be- 
hind the stage as the bar 
is pushed out and with- 
drawn, but the attention 
of the audience in gen- 
eral is so taken up with 
the performance proper 
that this disturbance is 
overlooked by them. 

The magician, it will 
be seen, can only walk 
completely around the 

reclining lady before the bar is in place or after it is withdrawn. When the bar 
is in place, he can walk behind her, but cannot go completely around her. 
Hence his complete excursions are restricted to the time when she is resting on 
the chairs, before the bar is in place or after it has been withdrawn. 

After the board is vacated, Svengali throws it down upon the stage, its fall, 
Avith accompanying noise and disturbance, showing that there is no deception 
about that portion of the display. 



The supreme happiness of sitting in a swing which apparently wliirls 
around its points of support, giving the occupant what is most properly 
described as a new sensation, may now be enjoyed by all. It is termed the 
"haunted swing," and has been in most successful operation at Atlantic 
City and at the Midwinter Fair near San Francisco. Those who are to par- 


ticipate in the apparent gyrations of the swing — and there may be quite a 
number who enjoy it simultaneously — are ushered into a small room. From 


a bar crossing the room, near the coiling, linngs a large swing, which is pro- 
vided with seats for a number of people. After the people have taken their 



places, the attendant pushes the car and it starts into oscillation like any other 
swing. The room door is closed. Gradually those in it feel after three or 


four movements that their swing is going rather high, but this it not all. The 
apparent amplitude of the oscillations increases more and more, until presently 


the whole swing seems to whirl completely over, describing a full circle about 
the bar on which it hangs. To make the thing more utterly mysterious, the 
bar is bent crank fashion, so that it seems demonstrably impossible for the 
swing to pass between bar and ceiling. It continues apparently to go round 
and round this way, imparting a most weird sensation to the occupants, until 
its movements begin gradually to cease and the complete rotation is succeeded 
by the usual back and forth swinging, and in a few seconds, as the children 
say, " the old cat dies." The door of the room is opened and the swinging 
party leave. Those who have tried it say the sensation is most peculiar and 
the deception perfect. 

The illusion is based on the movements of the room proper. During the 
entire exhibition the swing is practically stationary, while the room rotates 
about the suspending bar. At the beginning of operations the swing may be 
given a slight push; the operators outside the room then begin to swing the 
room itself, which is really a large box journaled on the swing bar, starting 
it off to correspond with the movements of the swing. They swing it back and 
forth, increasing the arc through Avhich it moves until it goes so far as to make 
a complete rotation. The operatives do this without special machinery, taking 
hold of the sides and corners of the box or " room." At this time the people 
in the swing imagine that the room is stationary while they are whirling 
through space. After keeping this up for some time, the movement is brought 
gradually to a stop, a sufficient number of back and forth swings being given 
at the finale to carry out the illusion to the end. 

The room is as completely furnished as possible, everything being, of course, 
fastened in place. What is apparently a kerosene lamp stands on a table, near 
at hand. It is securely fastened to the table, which in its turn is fastened to 
the floor, and the light is supplied by a small incandescent lamp within the 
chimney, but concealed by the shade. The visitor never imagines that it is 
an electric lamp, and naturally thinks that it would be impossible for a 
kerosene lamp to be inverted without disaster, so that this adds to the decep- 
tion materially. The same is to be said of the pictures hanging on the wall, 
of the cupboard full of chinaware, of the chair with a hat on it, and of the 
baby carriage^ All contribute to the mystification. Even though one is in- 
formed of the secret before entering the swing, the deception is said to be so 
complete that passengers involuntarily seize the arms of the seats to avoid 
being precipitated below. 


The peculiar gun shown in the cut is named after its inventor, Alessandro 
Scuri, of Ijiege, Ik'lgium. ]\r. Scuri is also known as the inventor of a uni- 
cyclo and a quadruple cornet. The " scurimobile " is a gun with two barrels 


which can be aimed at different objects, the angle between the barrels being 
adjustable. The adjustment is effected by moving a ring located on the under 
side of the gun. The pivot of the barrels is so arranged that it is easy to sight 
two objects at the same time. Both cartridges are automatically ejected after 
each shot fired. It is also possible to use only one barrel in the ordinary way. 
In the cut the inventor is shown aiming at two balls placed about a yard apart. 
Another valuable feature of this new gun is its applicability as a range finder. 
The observer first sights two objects which are at about equal distances from 
him, and measures the distance or angle between the two barrels, a graduation 
being provided for this purpose. Then the same operation is made from a 
point more distant from the objects first sighted. . If the observer steps back 
ten yards, and finds that the graduation indicates just one-half of the value 
obtained at first, he will know that in the second position he was? just twice 
as far from the objects as in the first position, so that the objects are ten yards 
from the observer's first position. This operation will give distances with 
sufficient accuracy in most cases, but more exact results can be obtained by 
means of a simple trigonometric formula when the angle between the barrels 
is measured. 


The X rays, after becoming the indispensable coadjutors of surgeons, and 
even of physicians, are now competing with the most noted mediums in the 
domain of the marvelous. 

M. Eadiguet, the well known manufacturer of physical apparatus, has been 
devoting himself for a long time to experiments with the Eoentgen rays in the 
laboratory, which is encumbered with electric lamps, lamp globes, and glass 
apparatus of all kinds. One day he perceived that tliese glass objects, under 
the action of the X rays, shone in the darkness. Here again was an amusing 
and perhaps a useful experiment due to accident. Useful, because the radio- 
graphs obtained up to the present, by means of artificial screens, have been 
really good only when the sensitive bodies have been in small crystals. In a 
pulverulent state they are nearly insensible to the X rays, and it is almost 
impossible to obtain the grain of the screen upon the photographic plate. It 
is easy, on the contrary, to work the glass in such a way as to prevent any 
irregularity in the radiograph. Such experiments will certainly be made ere 
long, but, for the present, it is the fantastic side of the discovery that we shall 
present to our readers. 

Porcelain, enamels, and diamonds, and also objects covered with platino- 
cyanides (used by Eoentgen) and with calcium tungstate, zinc sulphate, etc., 
liave, like glass, the property of becoming luminous in darkness under the 
action of the X rays. We have, therefore, only the trouble of selection in 



order to get up a " spirit seance " with every certainty of success, wliile genuine 
spiritual seances fail in most cases, as well known, because the spirits are in an 
ill mood and disposed to be eoyish. 


The following will prove a scene sufficiently weird to put the most intrepid 
worldlings in a flurry if some one of our friends takes it into his head to give 



them the mysterious spectacle thereof before they have read an exposure of 
the trick. 


The first figure that we present hcrewitli ('xliil)its a Kulinikorfr coil, which 
is placed here to show the operation in its entirety. But, as the first effect of 

Miscellaneous stage trivks. 'jd 

its vibrations would be to attract tbe attention, and consequently the sus- 
picions of the s^jectators, whom it is a question of transporting into the domain 
of the marvelous, this apparatus is relegated to some distant room. The cur- 
rent that produces the X rays is led into the Crookes tube by wires. This 
apparatus, moreover, which is not very bulky, may be placed Ijehind a door or 
be concealed under black cloth. The objects designed to become luminous 
are placed as near to the tube as possible. In the experiment under consider- 
ation a diner (who is doubtless near-sighted, since he wears eyeglasses) is about 
to do justice to his breakfast. Armed with a knife and fork, he attacks his 
beefsteak; but he is assuredly a greater eater than drinker, since he contents 
himself with water, while his light consists of a single candle. 

A black curtain on the other side of the table conceals from tlie spectators 
a skeleton covered with zinc sulphide. 

Let us now put out the light and set the Euhmkorff coil in actjyn. What 
a surprise! A plate, a glass, a water l)Ottle, and a candle sliine in space with 
the light of glow-worms. 

A sinister guest in the form of a skeleton sits opposite the place occupied 
by the near-sighted gentleman, who has disappeared, and whose eyeglasses 
alone have held their own before this ghastly apparition. Finally, to complete 
the illusion, hands are seen moving over the heads of the spectators, and those 
multiply, and then disappear, only to appear anew. 

It must be remarked that, in order to render the experiment more con- 
clusive, it is allowable for the most incredulous members of the i)arty to tie the 
gentleman tightly to his chair, and, if they desire, to hold his hands and feet 
during the entire time of the experiment. It is scarcely necessary to explain 
how the latter is performed. The X rays pass through the black cloth on the 
door that conceals the Crookes tube and also through the body of the gentle- 
man, and render luminous the glass objects covered with zinc sulphide. As 
for the mysterious hands, those are simply gloves covered with the same sub- 
stance and fixed to the extremity of long sticks that are moved in all directions 
by confederates. 

Such scenes may naturally be varied to infinity; and the spirit of invention 
is so fertile, there is no doubt that before long ladies will be giving a place 
in the programme of their soirees to this up-to-date spiritualism. 



This illusion is a variation of the enchanted " death's head " which was 
for a long time the attraction of the Eobert-Houdin Theater. Our engraving 
shows both the " death's head," the " mask of Balsamo/' and the method 
of producing the illusion. Under the influence of the passes of the prestidi- 
gitateur the skull on the glass plate bends forward and seems to salute the 
spectators. The nodding of the " death's head " was utilized in a number of 
ways, as, to indicate the number when dice was thrown. This trick was per- 

Fig. 1.— The Kiiclmnteil Death's Head. Vic. 3.-^ The Mask of Ralsamo. 

formed as follows: Upon a table near the magician was placed a ball of soft 
wax attached to a string which ran to the side scenes, wliere it could be pulled 
by a confederate. After passing the skull around to be examined, the prestidigi- 
tateur, in laying it upon the table, fixed the ball of wax at the top of it. After 
the experiment a simple scraping with the finger nail removed every trace of 
the trick. The Isola Brothers used electricity in a somewhat similar illusion. 
The skull is replaced by a wooden mask laid flat on a small table and the mask 
answers questions by rocking slightly. The magician then brings the table 
into the midst of the spectators, and the mask still continues to move, to the 
astonishment of the onlookers. The secret of the trick is that part of the 
wood which forms the chin is replaced by a small strip of iron which is painted 
the same color as the mask so that it cannot be seen; an electro-magnet is let 
into the top of the table so that the cores shall be opposite the strip of iron 



when the mask is laid upon the table. Contact is made l)y means of a pusli 
button somewhere in the side scenes, the wires run under the stage, and con- 
nection is made through the legs of the table when the legs are set on the fore- 
ordained place. Upon the same principle is Robert Houdin's heavy chest and 
magic drum. A rapping and talking table may be made by carrying out the 
same idea. The battery is carried in the lower part of the table, where the 
three legs join. The top of the table is in two parts, the lower of which is 
hollow and the top being very thin. In the center of the hollow part is placed 
an electro-magnet, one of the wires of which connect with one of the poles 
of the battery, while the other is connected with a flat metallic circle glued 
to the cover of the table. Beneath this circle and at a slight distance from 
it there is a toothed circle connected with the whole pole of the battery. When 
the table is pressed lightly upon, the cover bends and the flat circle touches 
the toothed one. This closes the circuit, and the electro-magnet attract- 
ing the armature produces 
a sharp blow. ^Yhen the 
hand is raised the circuit 
is broken, producing an- 
other sharp blow. By 
running the hand lightly 
over the table the cover is 
caused to bend successively 
over a certain portion of 
its circumference. Thus 
contact is made at a num- 
ber of places, and the sharp 
blow is replaced by a quick 
succession of sounds. This 
table is very useful for 
spirit rappings; as the 
table contains all of the 
mechanism in itself, it can 
be moved to any part of 
the room. The table may 
be also operated from a 
distance by employing con- 
ductors passing through 
the legs of the table and 
under the carpet. By sub- 
stituting a small telephone receiver for tlie electro-magnet, the rapping spirits 
may be made talking ones. 

Electric insects may be constructed on the same ])lan and give a very life- 
like appearance when placed on an artificial bunch of flowers in a flower pot. 



The battery is concealed in the top. When the pot is raised a drop of mercury 
which occupies the bottom of the pot will roll over the bottom, closing the 
circuit successively on different insects, keeping them in motion until the pot 
has been set down. 


At the end of the last century and the beginning of the present, a very 
curious experiment, and one which was looked upon as marvelous by the 
credulous, was wonderfully popular at Paris. The representation took place 



at the old Capuchin convent. The spectator entered a well lighted hall in 
which, in part of a window, there was a box suspended by four brass chains 
attached by bows of ribbon. The box, which was surrounded by a grating, 
was provided with two panes of glass that permitted of seeing that it was 
absolutely empty. To one of the extremities was fixed a speaking trumpet. 
When a visitor spoke iiL the latter, he was answered by a hollow voice; and 
when he placed his face near the box, he even felt upon it the action of a 
mysterious breath. When he presented any object whatever in front of the 
mouthpiece, and asked the voice to name it, an answer immediately came from 
the speaking tube. The box was suspended freely from the ceiling, and it 
could be made to swing at the extremity of the chains; it was empty and 
isolated in space. People were lost in conjecture as to the secret of tlie 
experiment. Among the unlikely theories that were put forth was tliat of the 
invisibility of a person o])tained by unknown processes. 

As usual in these kinds of impostures, there was here merely an ingenious 
application of a scientific principle. A physicist, E. J. Ingennato, revealed the 
mystery in a 2:)amphlet published in 1800 under the title of " The Invisible 
Woman and Her Secret Unveiled." This tract, now rare, had for a frontis- 
piece the engraving which we reproduce herewith and which exi)lains tlie whole 
experiment. The invisible woman of the Capucmin convent was named 
Frances, and the following is the explanatory legend appended to the original 

" Questioner: ' Frances, what is this that I have in my hand? ' 
''Frances (after looking through the little peep-hole, D): '^ A stick with 
a crooked handle.' 

" The entire assembly at once: ' It is incomprehensible! ' " 
Ingennato, in his pamphlet, explains that above the ceiling tliere was a low, 
darkish chamber, in which Frances was concealed, and tliat slie looked at tbe 
object presented to her through a small aperture, I), whicli was skillfully 
hidden by a hanging lamp, and then answered through the speaking tube, 
r> B C, liidden in the wall. The sound traversed a space of about six inches, 
that separated the speaking tube from the speaking trumpet. 


The experiment which we are about to describe, while it is thoroughly 
scientific, was taken up under the name of "^Eolian Harps'' by Eobert-IIoudin, 
wbo introduced several modifications of it. When the experiment was per- 
formed by Wheatstone in 1855, four harps were arranged in a semi-circle on 
the stage of the Polytechnic Institution. These harps, at the pleasure of the 
experimenter, vibrated as if they were made to resound by invisible hands. 


This effect was produced by fixing to tlie sounding board of each of them 
vertical rods of fir-wood wliich passed through the floor of the stage and ceiHngs, 
into the cellar of the Institution, where one of them was fixed upon a sounding 
board of a piano, another upon the sounding board of a violoncello, and two 
others upon the sounding boards of violins. In order to render it possible 


to interrupt the vibrations between the instruments and the harps, the rods 
supporting the latter were divided at two inches above the floor. Each harp 
could be cut off from communication with the instrument below by turning it 
around upon its axis. When Robert-Houdin introduces the illusion, he used 
a stage elevated in the very midst of the spectators. This stage was traversed 
by two fir-wood rods which, after passing through the floor, rested upon harps 
placed in the hands of skillful players. At the command of the prestidigi- 
tateur two other harps supported upon the upper extremity of the rods 
executed a concert which was very successful, thanks to the careful prepara- 
tions and the elegant mise en schie. Of course the harps were supposed to 
operate through the intervention of mediumistic spirits. 



Having described some of the illusions wliich are ])rodiiced with the aid of 
elaborate outlits, we now come to the more simjile tricks which are produced 
with smaller and less expensive apparatus, and, sometimes, with no ajiparatus 
at all. In the old days the mau of mystery appeared on the stage clad iu a 
robe embroidered with cabalistic figures, the ample folds of which could well 
conceal a wdiole trunkful of paraphernalia. The table in the center of the 
stage was covered with a velvet cloth embroidered with silver, and its long folds, 
which reached the ground, suggested endless possibilities for concealment. All 
of these things have now passed away, and the modern magician appears clad 
in ordinary evening dress, which is beyond the suspicion of concealment. The 
furniture is all selected with special reference to the apparent impossibility of 
using it as a storeroom for objects which the prestidigitateur wishes to con- 
ceal. Some of the easiest and simplest of modern tricks that anyone with little 
or no practice can perform are very'feffective. The tricks iu this chapter are 
far from being all which have been published in the Scientific Atnerican and 
the Scientific American Supple nieiit, but they are believed to be the best which 
have been published iu those journals. 


• ^ 

In this trick we have an Qgg in an egg-cup, which the prestidigitateur covers 
with a hat, and then he rolls a small silk handkerchief between his hands, as 
shown in Fig. 1. As soon as the haiul kerchief no longer appears externally, 
he opens his hands and shows the Q2.2,, which has invisibly left the place that 
it occupied under the hat, while the handkerchief has passed into the egg-cup 
(Fig. 3). We shall now ex})lain how these invisible transfers are effected. 

Two eggs, genuine and entire, wei-e truly placed in plain view in a basket, 
but it was not one of those that served for the experiment. Behind the 
basket was placed a half shell, C, of wood (Fig. 2), jiainted white on the con- 
vex side, so as to represent the half of an Qgg, and on the concave side offer- 
ing the same aspect as the interior of the egg-cup, A, to which it can be 
perfectly fitted in one direction or the other, as may be seen in the section in 
Fig. 2. It is this shell, inclosing a small handkerchief exactly like the first, 




that the prestidigitateur placed upon the egg-cup (Fig. 2). Then, while with 
the left hand he covered the whole with a hat with which he concealed the 
operation, he with the right hand quickly turned the shell upside down. The 
shell, therefore, by this means disappeared in the egg-cup, and the handker- 
chief, s^jreading out, assumed the appearance that it presents in Fig. 3. 


The prestidigitateur, having afterward secretly seized with his right hand a 
hollow egg of metal, containing an oval aperture (F, Fig. 2), stuffed into it the 
handkerchief that he seemed simply to roll and compress between his hands. 
It is almost useless to add that the metallic egg may be easily concealed either 
with the palm of the hand that holds it, or with the handkerchief. 


In prestidigitation flowers have in all times played an important part, 
arul they are usually emi)loyed in preference to other objects, since they give 
tiie experiments a pleasing aspect. Jiut, in most cases, natural flowers, espe- 
cially when it is necessary to conceal their presence, are replaced by paper or 
feather ones, the bulk of which is more easily reduced. Such is the case in 
the experiment which we are about to present, and which, it must be con- 
fessed, requires to be seen from some little distance in order that the spectators 
nuiy, without too great an effort of the imagination, be led into the delusion 
that they are looking at genuine flowers. However, even seen close by, the trick 



surprises one to the same degree as all those that consist iu causing the appear- 
ance of more or less bulky objects where nothing was perceived a few moments 

The prestidigitateur takes a newspajier and forms it into a cone before one's 
eves. It is impossible to suppose the existence here of a double bottom, and 
)'et the cone, gentlv shaken, 
becomes filled with flowers 
that have come from no one 
knows where. The number of 
them even becomes so great 
that they soon more than fill 
the cone and drop on and 
cover the floor. 

The two sides of the flowers 
employed are represented in 
Fig. 3, where they are lettered 
A and B. Each flower con- 
sists of four petals of various 
colors, cut with a punch out 
of very thin tissue paper. 
Upon examining Fig. A, we 
see opposite us the petals 1, 
2, 3, and 4 gummed together 
by the extremities of their 
anterior sides, Mdiile Fig. B 
shows us the petals 2 and 3 
united in the same manner 
on the opposite side. A snuill, 
very light and thin steel 
spring, D, formed of two 

strips soldered together at the bottom, and pointing in opposite directions, is 
fixed to the two exterior petals, 1 and 4, of the flower, and is concealed by a 
band of paper of the same color, gummed above. It is this spring that, 
when it is capable of expanding freely, opens the flower and gives it its 
voluminous aspect. 

Quite a large number of these flowei's (a hundred or more), united and 
held together by means of a thread or a rubber band (Fig. 2, C) makes a pack- 
age small enough to allow the operator to conceal it in the palm of his hand, 
only the back of which he allows the spectators to see while he is forming the 
paper cone. 




In lectures on chemistry, the professor, in speaking of aniline colors, in 
order to give an idea of the coloring power of certain of these substances, per- 
forms the follov'ing experiment: 

Upon a sheet of paper he throws some aniline red, which, as well known, 
comes in the form of iridescent crystals. He shakes the surplus off the paper 
into the bottle, so that it would be thought that nothing remaiued on the 


paper. If, however, alcohol, in which aniline colors are very soluble, be poured 
over the paper, the latter immediately becomes red. 

This experiment may be varied as folloAvs: Instead of scattering the aniline 
over paper, it is dusted over the flowers of a white rosebush, and the flowers are 
shaken so as to render the dust invisible, and then when a visit is received 
from an amateur of horticulture, we tell him that we have a magic rosebush 
in our garden, the flowers of which become red when alcohol or cologne is 
poured over them. The experiment is performed with the aid of a perfumery 
vaporizer, and the phenomenon causes great surprise to the spectators who are 
not ill the secret. 



A trick that has contributed mucli toward making one of onr leading magi- 
cians such a favorite witli the fnir sex, is one in wliich a hush filled with genu- 
ine rosebuds is caused to grow in a previously-examined jiot that contained 
nothing but a small quantity of white sand. 

After the bush is produced, the Howers are cut and distributed to the ladies, 
and by many recipients of the magician's favors these buds are looked upoi^s 
a production of fairy land. For many years this trick has occupied a promi- 
nent position on the programme of the magician in question, and mystifies 
tlie audience as much to-day as ever, thus proving how well nuigicians keep 
their secrets from the public. The trick is not a difficult one by any means, 
yet, regardless of its simplicity and the ease with which it may be performed, 
the florist would find it anything but an economical method of raising roses, 
as a perusal of the following will show. 

On the stage is seen two stands with metal feet, and with long rich drapery 
trimmed with gold fringe. On each of the stands is a miniature stand on 
which are flower-pots. 

The magician passes the pots for inspection, then places them on the stands, 
and plants a few flower seeds in each pot. A large cone, open at both ends, is 
shown, and can be carefully examined. One of the pots is covered for a 
moment with the cone, and on its removal a green sprig is seen protruding 
from the sand, the seed having sprouted, so the magician says. Now the sec- 
ond pot is covered for a moment with the cone, on the removal of which a 
large rosebush is seen in the pot, a mass of full-blown roses and buds. The 
first pot is again covered for a moment with the cone, and when uncovered a 
second rosebush is seen, equally as full of roses as the other. The cone is once 
again shown to be empty. 

A small basket or tray is now brought forward, on wiiich the roses and buds 
are placed as the performer cuts them from the bushes, after which they are 
distributed to the ladies. 

The stands are not what they appear, as the drapery does not extend 
entirely around them, but quite a space at the back of the stand is open. 
There is a small shelf attached to the stand leg, near the bottom of the drapery. 
Three cones are used, of which the audience see but one. 

The rosebushes are merely stumps to which are attached a base of sheet 
lead, cut of such a size as to fit nicely in the flower-pots, resting on the sand. 
To the stumps the genuine roses are attachd by tying with thread. When the 
bushes are prepared they are suspended inside of cones, by means of a stout 
cord that is fastened to the stump by one end and to the -other end of Avhich 
is attached a small hook, which hook is slipped over the edge of the upper 
opening of the cone. When the bushes are placed in the cones, these cones 
are placed on the shelves at the back of the stands. Keference to the second 



engraving will make the arrangement of the shelf, back of etand, and posi- 
tion of concealed cone plain to all. There is a variance in the size of the 
bones. The cone shown to the andience is slightly larger than the cone that 
is behind the first stand, and the cone 
beliind the second stand is a fraction 
smaller than either of the others. Thus 
the cones will fit snugly one in the other, 
in the order named. 

After the performer has shown the 
pots, planted the seed, and jDlaced the 
pots on the small stands, which are nsed 
to convince the spectators that there is 
no connection between the pot and the 
large stand, he shows the large cone, 
which is nicely decorated, and covers 
the top of the pot on the first stand, as 
he says, to shut out the light, that the 
seed may germinate. Between the fin- 
gers of the hand holding the cone, he 
has concealed a small metal shape, 
painted green, which he drops through 
the cone into the pot. In a moment 
he removes the cone from over the pot, 
and in a most natural manner passes it 
down behind the stand and over the con- 
cealed cone containing the rosebush, and 
carries this cone away inside of the larger 
one. At the same moment he picks 
up the flower-pot and carries it down and shows the green sprout in the sand. 

The performer now steps to the second stand and covers the flower-pot on 
it with the cone. As soon as the pot is covered, he slips oif the small hook sup- 
porting the rosebush, Avhich drops into the pot; the weight of the lead base 
keeps it in position while the cones are being removed. 

AVhen the performer removes the cone — or cones, wo should now say, as we 
have two now in place of one, although tliis fact is unknown to the audience — 
he passes it down behind the stand, over the concealed third cone, picking it 
up with the second rosebush inside. He now returns to tlie flrst stand, 
covers the pot, and by slipping oft' the hook holding the rosebush in position, 
and removing the cone, or cones, properly, from the pot, shows the second rose- 
bush. He now turns tlie large cone so the audience can see through it, and 
as the upper and lower edge of each cone is blackened, there is no danger of 
the inside cones being seen. The rear of the stand tops are something of a 
crescent shape, to facilitate the passing of the large cone down behind the 
stand in a graceful manner. 




The trick that we are about to describe, althoiigli old, is very interesting. 
The prestidigitatenr conies forward, holding in his hand a small cardboard box 
which he says contains various kinds of flower seeds. 

"Here there is no need of moisture, eartb, or time to cause the seed to 
germinate, the plant to spring up, and the flower to bloom. Everything takes 
place instantaneously. AVould not a rose in my buttonhole produce a charm- 
ing effect? A stroke of tlie wand upon the seed deposited in the desired 


place, and see! the rose appears. A few seeds are in this little box (Fig. 1, A) 
that we shall cover for an instant so that it cannot be seen how flowers are 
born. It is done; let us take off the cover; violets, forget-me-nots, and 
Easter daisies are here all freslily blown. 

" You are suspicious, perhaps, and rightly, of tiie little tin box, and more 
BO of its cover. Well, tlien, here is a small goblet, the transparency of which 
is perfect, and this borrowed hat with which I cover it can have undergone 
uo preparation. Let us remove it quickly, for the flowers — What ! no 
flowers? Ah ! it is l)ecause I forgot to sow the seeds. Let us begin the 
operation over again. Wliat flowers do you want — a mignonette, a violet, a 
marigold? Here is a seed of eacli kind, which I shall put into the glass. 
Xow let each one tell me the flower tiuit he prefers. Now I cover the glass 
and count three seconds. See the magniflcent bouquet! " (Fig. 3.) 


Finally the trick is finished by taking- from the hat a number of small 
bouquets that are offered to the ladies. The following is an explanation of the 
various tricks, beginning with that which involves the houtonniere of the 
magician himself. 

I. The Buttonhole Rose. 

This is a stemless artificial rose of muslin, which is secured by a strong 
black silk thread arrested by a knot. To this thread, which should be five or 
six inches in length, is attached quite a strong rubber cord capable of being 
doubled if need be. The free extremity of the rubber traverses, in the first 
place, the left buttonhole of the coat, and then a small eyelet formed beneath, 
and then passes over the chest and behind the back, and is fixed by the extrem- 
ity to one of the right-hand buttons of the waistband of the trousers. 

When the prestidigitateur comes upon the stage, the rose is carried under 
his left armpit, wdiere he holds it by a slight jiressure of the arm. At the 
proper moment he raises his wand toward the right, and looks in the same 
direction in order to attract the eyes of the spectators to that side; but at the 
same time he separates his arms slightly, and the rose, held by the taut rubber, 
suddenly puts itself in place. The magic effect produced by the instantaneous 
appearance of this flower, coming whence no one knows where, could not be 
appreciated without having been seen. 

II. The FloweRvS ix the Small Box. 

In the second appearance of flowers, 2n'oduced by means of the small appa- 
ratus shown in Fig. 3, there is really nothing very mysterious. The special 
object of it is to bring into relief the experiment that is to follow, and in which, 
evidently, there can be no question of double bottom. Moreover, the diver- 
sity of the means employed contributes powerfully toward astounding the 

Fig. 2 shows in section the three pieces of the apparatus, which are placed 
separately upon the table in Fig. 1. A is the cylindrical tin box in which the 
seeds are sown, and B another box of slightly larger diameter, but in other 
respects just like the first, which it entirely covers. To the bottom of B is 
fixed a small bouquet of artificial flowers. By slightly squeezing the cover, C 
(which is of thin brass), toward the bottom, the box, B, with the bouquet, is 
lifted. If, on the contrary, the box is left upon the table, the spectators do 
not perceive the substitution made, and think that they all the time see the 
first box, whence they believe the flowers started. 

III. The Bouquet in the Glass. 

This is the most interesting part of the experiment. 

As we have said, the glass is first covered with a hat, and the j^restidigita- 
teur feigns astonishment upon seeing that the flowers have not appeared, but 


at the very instant at which the hat is lifted, when all eyes are fixed upon the 
glass, looking for tlie Ijouqiiet announced, the operator, who, with the right 
hand, holds the hat carelessly resting upon the edge of the table, suddenly 
sticks his middle finger in the cardboard tube fixed to the handle of the bou- 
quet, which has been jjlaced in advance upon a bracket, as shown in Fig. 1, 
and, immediately raising his finger, introduces the flowers into the hat, taking 
good care (and this is an important point) not to turn his gaze away from the 
glass to the bouquet or hat, as one might feel himself led to do in such a case. 
This introduction of the bouquet should he efi'ected in less than a second, after 
which the hat is held aloft, Avhile with the left hand some imaginary seeds, the 
kinds of which are designated in measure as they are taken, are selected from 
the cardboard box and successively deposited in the glass. So, this time, be 
certain of it, the flowers will appear. 

lY. The Small Bouquets in the Hat. 

There is not a second to be lost; the spectators are admiring the houquet 
and are astonished to see it make its appearance. The operator very quickly 
profits by this moment of surprise to introduce, by the same process as before, 
a package of small bouquets tied together with a weak thread that will after- 
ward be broken in the hat. We have not figured these bouquets upon the 
bracket, in order to avoid complication. Of course, a skillful operator will not 
hasten to produce the small bouquets. He will advance toward the spectators 
as if the experiment were ended, and as if he wished to return the hat to the 
person from whom he borrowed it. Afterward making believe answer a request, 
he says: "You Avish some flowers, madam? And you too? And are there 
others who wish some ? I will, then, empty into the hat the rest of my wonder- 
ful seeds, and we shall see the result." It is at this moment that the spectators 
are attentive and that all eyes are open to see the advent of the flowers. 


Prestidigitateurs frequently borrow from their spectators a hat that serves 
them for the performance of very neat tricks which are not always easily 
explained. We shall describe some of the most interesting of these. 

The operator will begin by proving to you that the felt of your hat is of 
bad quality, and, to this effect, he will pierce it here and there with his 
finger, his magic wand, an Qgg, and with a host of other objects. 

This is all an illusion, the mystery of which is explained by our first engrav- 
ing. (See the finger B.) It is either of wood or cardboard, and terminates in 
a long slender needle. The prestidigitateur, wiio has concealed the finger in 
his left hand, thrusts the point into the top of the hat, whose interior is turned 
toward tlie spectators. Afterward raising the right hand, the forefinger of 



M^liich he points forward, he seems to be about to pierce the top of the hat, but 
instead of finishing the motion begun, he quickly seizes in the interior, between 
the thumb and forefinger, the point of tlie needle, wiggles it around in all 
directions, turns the hat over, and the cardboard finger, which moves, seems to 
1)6 the prestidigitateur's own finger. The same operation is performed with the 
wooden half egg, C, and the rod. A, which, like the finger, appear to traverse 
the hat, in tlie interior of which are hidden the true rod and egg. We may 
likewise solder a needle to a half of a five-franc piece, and thus vary the 
objects employed for this recreation to infinity. 

I'AssrNG A FrN(;i:i!, hod, and kog Tm:()r(iii \ hat. 

In order to take from a hat a large quantity of paper in ribbons, and then 
doves, and even a duck or a rabbit, there is no need of special apparatus nor of 
a great amount of dexterity, and still less of the revolving bobbin or of the 
mysterious machiiie whose existence is generally believed in by tlie s))cctators 
when they see the paper falling regularly from the h;it. and turning grace- 
fidly of itself as tlie water from a new sort of fountain would do. 

Nor is there here any need of a high hat; a simple straw hat (or a cap. at a 
liinch) will suffice. The prestidigitateur holds close pressed to his breast and 
hidden under his coat a roll of the blue paper prepared for the printing 
apparatus of the Morse telegraph, and which is so tightly wound that it has 
the aspect and consistence of a wooden disk with a circular aperture in the 
center. In turning around after taking the hat, the opening of which rests 
against his breast, the operator deftly introduces into it the roll of paper, which 
has the proper diameter to allow it to enter by hard friction as far as the top 
of the hat, and stay where it is put even when tlie hat is turned over. 


Were it needed, tlie ^xiper might be held by a proper pressure of the left 
hand exerted from the exterior. The introduction of the paper is effected iu a 
fraction of a second. 

" Your hat, my dear sir, was doubtless a little too wide for your head, for I 
notice within it a band of paper designed to diminish the internal diameter," 
says the prestidigitateur, while, at the same time, he draws from the hat the 

end that terminates the pa- 
per in the centre^of the roll. 
Then he reverses the hat so 
that the interior cannot be 
seen by the spectators. The 
paper immediately begins to 
unwind of itself and to fall 
very regularly and without 
intermission to the right. 

When the fall of the pa- 
per begins to slacken, that is, 
in general, when no more 
than a third of the roll re- 
mains, the prestidigitateur 
turns the hat upside down, 
and with the right hand pulls 
out and rapidly revolves in 
the air the paper ribbon^ 
whose cajiricious contours, 
succeeding one another be- 
fore the first have had time 
to fall to the floor, produce 
a very pretty effect, as shown 
iu our second engraving. 
The quantity of paper ex- 
tracted from the hat ajjpears also in this way much greater than it really is, 
and at length forms a 2)ile of considerable bulk. 

U'liis experiment may be completed in the following manner: The operator, 
approaching his table, which, upon aboard suspended behind it, carries a firmly 
})ound ])igeon, quickly seizes the jjoor bird iu ])assing, and conceals it under 
the pile of paper, while he puts the latter back into the hat in order to see, says 
he, whether all that has been taken out can be made to enter anew. 

Having thus introduced the pigeon or any otlier object into the liat, the 
])ajter is taken out, and it is at the moment that the liat is restored to its owner 
that he pretends to discover that it still contains something. 





This old trick always amuses the spectators. Some eggs are broken into a 
porcelain vessel, some flour is added thereto, and there is even incorporated 
with the paste the eggsliells and a few drops of wax or stearine from a near-by 
candle. The whole having been put into a hat (Fig. 1), the latter is passed 
three times over a flame, and an excellent cake, baked to a turn, is taken 
out of this new set of cooking utensils. As for the owner of the hat, who has 


passed through a state of great apprehension, he finds with evident satisfaction 
(at least in most cases) that his head gear has preserved no traces of the mix- 
ture that was poured into it. 

Fig. 2 shows the apparatus employed by prestidigitateurs to bake a cake in 
a hat. A is an earthen or porcelain vessel (it may also be of metal) into 
which enters a metallic cylinder, B, which is provided with a flange at one of 
its extremities and is divided by a horizontal partition into two unequal com- 
partments, c and d. The interior of the part d is painted wiiite so as to 
imitate porcelain. Finally, when the cylinder, B, is wholly inserted in the 
vessel. A, in which it is held by four springs, r, r, r, r, fixed to the sides, there 
is nothing to denote at a short distance that the vessel. A, is not empty, just as 
it was presented at the beginning of the experiment. 

The prestidigitateur has secretly introduced into the hat the small cake and 
the apparatus, B, by making them fall suddenly from a bracket affixed to the 
back of a chair. That at least is the most practical method of operating. 


FIG. 4. 

The vessel. A, about which there is nothing peculiar, is, of course, sub- 
mitted to the examination of the spectators. The object of adding the flour 
is to render the paste less fluid, and to thus more certainly avoid tlie produc- 
tion of stains. 

The cake being arranged under the apparatus, 
B, in the space d, the contents of the vessel. A, 
poured from a certain height, fall into the part 
c of the apparatus ; then the vessel, gradually 
brought nearer, is quickly inserted into the hat in 
order to seize therein, and at the same time remove, 
the receptacle, B, M'ith its contents, and leave only 
the cake. 

Fig. 3 shows this last operation. We have in- 
tentionally shown the part, B, projecting from the 
vessel, A, but it will be understood that in reality 
it must be inserted up to the base at the moment 
at Avhieh the vessel, A, introduced into the hat, is concealed from the eyes of 
the spectators. The prestidigitateur none the less continues to move his finger 
all around the interior of the double vessel as if to gather up the remainder 
of the paste, which he makes believe throw into the hat, upon the rim of 
which lie even affects to wipe his fingers, to the great dis- 
quietude of the gentleman to whom it belongs. 

The experiment may be complicated by first burning 
alcohol or fragments of pajier in the compartment c of 
the apparatus. Some prestidigitateurs even add a little 
Bengal fire. But let no one imitate that amateur presti- 
digitateur who, wishing to render the experiment more 
brilliant, put into the receptacle such a quantity of powder 
that a disaster supervened, so that it became necessary to 
throw water into the burning hat in order to extinguish 
the nascent fire. 

The following method of baking a cake in a hat is a 
decided improvement over the old trick with the porcelain 
vessel. It has the advantage of being able to be employed 
anywhere and of i^roducing a complete illusion. 

liefore beginning the experiment, take three eggs, and 
having blown two of them, close the apertures with white 
wax. Place the three eggs upon a plate. 

AVithin the left-hand side of your waistcoat place a fiat 
cake, and then make your a])i)earance before the spec^tators. 

Having borrowed a hat, place it upon the table, and, after secretly intro- 
ducing the cake into it (Fig. 4), take an empty egg, crack the shell upon the 
edge of the jtlate, and, inserting your hands in the hat, make believe empty 
the contents of the egg into the latter (Fig. 5). 

In order tiiat the means employed may not occur to any one, take the per' 

FIG. 5. 



feet egg and let it fall upon the plate so that it will break and its contents 
flow oat. Then take the remaining egg and operate as with the first. All you 
have to do then is to pass the hat back and forth a few times over the flame of 
a candle in order to cook the mass and then to serve the cake. 


An effect dne to an invisible thread is tlie following: 

Some months ago, in a Parisian public establishment, a clown took a hat 
and a handkerchief, and then, after showing, by spreading it out, that the 
handkerchief was empty, drew 
an egg from the folds of the 
crumpled fabric and allowed 
it to drop into the hat. Then 
he took up the handkerchief, 
shook it out again, crumpled 
it up, found another egg, and 
let it drop into the h^it, and 
so on. When it might have 
been supposed that the hat 
contained a certain number 
of eggs, he turned it upside 
down, and, lo and behold, the 
hat was empty ! All the eggs 
from the handkerchief were 
reduced to a single one at- 
tached by a thi'ead to one of 
the sides of the luindkerchief, 
and which the amusing op- 
erator maliciously exhibited, 
after seeming to look for the 
vanished eggs. 

While the handkerchief 
was stretched out, the egg 
was behind it, and, although 

it was shaken, remained suspended by its thread. In crumpling the handker- 
chief it was easy to seem to find the egg in it, and to put it in the hat, where it 
did not remain, however, for, lifted by the thread, it resumed its place behind the 
handkerchief. Our engraving shows the handkerchief at the moment that the 
egg has been removed by the thread on the side opposite that of the spectators. 

On attaching a black thread, sixteen or twenty inches in length, to an 
empty egg, and selecting the egg thus prepared from a lot of ordinary eggs, as 
if by chance, we have a ready means of amusing and mystifying spectators for 



a long time. Having hooked the free extremity of the thread to a buttonhole 
of the Avaistcoat, let us lay the egg upon the table. After apparently ordering 
it to approach us, it suffices to recede from the table to make the docile egg 
obey the command. By the same means it may be made to make its exit 
alone from a hat; or, again, by bearing upon the invisible thread, it may be 
made to dance upon a cane or upon the hand; iu a word, to jDerform various 
operations that eggs are not accustomed to perform. 


Upon a small rectangular ti'ay of japanned sheet iron, similar to those in 
common use, are placed seven coins (Fig. 1). A spectator is asked to receive 
these iu his hand and to put the coins back upon the tray, one by one, and to 
count them with a loud voice as he does so. It is then found that the number 

has doubled, there being 
fourteen instead of seven. 
The same operation repeated 
gives as a result twenty-one 

As may be seen in the 
section in Fig. 3, the tray 
has a double bottom, forming 
an interspace a little wider 
tlian the thickness of one of 
the coins, and which is di- 
vided breadthwise into two 
equal compartments by a 
partition, B. These two 
compartments are closed all 
around, save at the ends of 
the tray, where there are two 
apertures, A and C, that in 
length are double the di- 
ameter of the coins. In this 
interspace are concealed four- 
teen coins, seven on each 
side. When the contents of 
the tray are emptied into the 
.hand of a spectator, the coins 
concealed in one of the compartments drop at the same time (Fig. 2). The 
operator tlien takes the tray in his other hand, and thus naturally seizes it at the 
end at which the now empty compartment exists, and this allows the seven coins 
that are contained in the other compartment to join the first ones, when the 
latter are rapidly emptied into the hands of the spectator for the second time. 

Mi;i/lin,T( ATION OK (OINS. 



A square tray, with a double bottom divided into four compartments by 
divisions running diagonally from one corner to another, would permit of 
increasing the number of coins four times. 

Let us say, however, that skillful prestidigitateurs dispense with the double 
bottom. They hold the coins sometimes nnder the tray with their fingers 
extended, and sometimes on the tray, under their thumbs, and renew their 
supply several times from secret pockets skillfully arranged in various parts of 
their coats, where the spectators are far from suspecting the existence of them. 


The street venders of Paris have for some time past been selling to pedes- 
trians a coin that can be made to enter an ordinary wine bottle. This coin is 
a genuine ten centime piece, but, 
when it is handled, it is found that 
it bends exactly like the leaves of 
a dining-room table. Amateur 
mechanics, clock-makers, and cop- 
per turners can easily manufacture 
similar ones. The process is as 
follows : 

By means of a very fine metal 
saw, cut the coin in three pieces, 
either by parallel cuts, or, better, by following the contours shown in Fig. 1. 
If the operation be skillfully performed, the marks of the cutting, too, will be 




nearly invisible. Before the coin is sawed, a groove about aline in depth should 
be formed in the rim by means of a saw or file. In this channel or groove is 
inserted a very taut rubber ring, which, before it is stretched, should be, at 
the most, one and a half or two lines in diameter. If the rubber is well 
hidden in the groove, the cleft coin will appear to be absolutely intact. 

Owing to this process, the coin can be easily inserted in a bottle by placing 
the hands as shown in Fig. 2. The hand that bends the coin covers the 
mouth. The cohi is inserted, and then, by a smart blow given the bottle, it 
is made to pass through the neck. Owiug to the tension of the rubber, the 
jiiece at once regains its flat form, and the operator makes it ring against tlje 
glass in order to sliow that it is really a piece of metal. In order to extract 
it, it is necessary to get the saw marks exactly in the direction of the bottle's 
axis, then the bottle is slightly inclined, neck downward, and through a few 
blows on the latter the coin is made to drop into the 
hand, where it will at once assume its original form. 

We shall now have a few words to say about what is 
called the " double sou." The operator places the prepared 
coin in his hand, and calls strict attention to the fact that 
there is no companion i^iece. Then he covers it with his 
other hand for a moment, and finally shows two coins, 
instead of one, in the first hand. 

Fig. 3 shows, not how the experiment is performed, 
but how the double coin is prepared. It is simply an ordi- 
nary sou, over which is placed a sort of hollow cover con- 
taining the impression of the coin, and which fits on the 
latter so accurately that the piece looks like an ordinary 
sou. This cover is lifted and made to slide alongside of 
the coin, thus sliowing two pieces instead of one. 

The cover is stamped from a thin sheet of copper placed upon a sou serv- 
ing as a mould. It might possibly be made by means of some electro-metal- 
lurgical process. The mutilation of United States coins is forbidden under 
penalty of the law. 

FIG. 3. 




Borrow a silver dollar, and have it marked, so that it can be identified. 
Ask some one tp hold the coin horizontally between the thumb and forefinger of 
the right liand within the folds of a silk handkerchief, and over a glass full of 
water held in the left hand, Fig. 1. Your assistant's two hands being thus 
occupied, you will have no sort of iiuliscretion to fear. Stepping back a few 
feet, direct your assistant to let the coin drop; and the impact against the bot- 
tom of the glass Avill be heard by the entire assemblage. When the handker- 
chief is raised the coin is no longer in the glass, l)ut has made its way to your 
hand or to the pocket of a spectator. I^et it be examined, and it will be found 
to be really the coin that has been previously marked, 



lu order to jierform this trick it is necessary to have a disk of glass of the 
same diameter as a silver dollar (Fig. 2). 

Hide this disk, A (Fig. 3), in the palm of your right hand, turned toward 
you. This will not prevent you from holding the coin that has been confided 
to you between the thumb and forefinger of the same hand. A\'hile your hand 
is concealed by the handkerchief in which it is thought that you ])laced the 
coin, you shift the latter and give the assistant the glass disk to hold, by the 


edge, of course, and not by the flat surface, so that the substitution that you 
have made cannot be perceived by the touch. 

After the trick has been performed, do not be afraid to let the person who 
has held the coin, and who is thoroughly astonished, examine the glass and its 
contents at his leisure. The glass disk is entirely invisible in the water, and if, 
as it is well to do, you have taken care to select a glass whose bottom is per- 
fectly plane and of the same diameter as the disk (Fig. 2), the latter will 
remain adherent to the glass even when it is inverted to empty the water in 
order to prove once more to the spectators that it contains nothing but clear 


Two ordinary wooden-framed slates are presented to the spectators, and 
examined in succession by them. A small piece of chalk is introduced between 
the two slates, which are then united by a rubber band and held aloft in the 
prestidigitatenr's right hand. 


Then, iu the general silence, is heard tlie scratching of the chalk, which 
is writing between the two slates the answer to a question asked by one of the 
spectators — the name of a card thought of or the number of spots obtained by 
throwing two dice. The rubber band having been removed and the slates 
separated, one of them is seen to be covered with writing. This prodigy, which 
at first sight seems to be so mysterious, is very easily performed. 

The writing was done in advance; but upon the written side of the slate, 
A, there had been placed a thin sheet of black cardboard which hid the char- 
acters written with chalk. 
The two sides of thiselatethus 
appeared absolutely clean. 

The slate B is first given 
out for examination, and after 
it has been returned to him, 
the operator says: "Do you 
want to examine the other 
one also ? " And then, with- 
out any haste, he makes a 
pass analogous to that em- 
ployed in shuffling cards. The 
slate A being held by the 
thumb and forefinger of the 
left hand and the slate B be- 
tween the fore and middle 
finger of the right hand (Fig. 
1), the two hands are brought 
together. But at the moment 
at which the slates are super- 
posed, the thumb and fore- 
finger of tlie right hand grasp 
the slate A, while at the same 
time the fore and middle 
finger of the left hand take 
the slate li. Then the two hands separate anew, and the slate that has 
already been examined, instead of the second one, is put into tlie hands of the 
spectator. 'I'liis shifting, done with deliberation, is entirely invisible. 

During the second examination the slate A is laid flat upon a table, the 
written face turned upward and covered with black cardboard. The slate 
having been sufficiently examined, and been returned to tbe operator, the latter 
lays it upon the first, and both are then surrounded by the rubber band. 

It is then that the operator holds up the slates with the left hand, of which 
one sees but the thumb, while upon the posterior face of the second slate the 
nail of his middle finger makes a sound resembling that produced by chalk 
when written with. "When the operator judges that this little comedy has 
lasted (juite long enough, he lays the two slates horizontally upon his table, 



taking care this time that the non-prepared slate shall be beneath (Fig. 2). 
It is upon it that the black cardboard rests; and the other slate, on being 
raised, shows the characters that it bears, and that are stated to have been 
written by an invisible spirit that slipped in between the two slates. 


"The trick is performed as follows," says Judge James Bartlett in the 
Popular Science Neivs : " Each person in the audience is presented with a slip 
of paper, upon which to write anything he or she may choose. The paper 
Avritten upon is immediately secreted by the writer, as much care as possible 
being taken that no one else sees what is written upon it. The performer, 
who has been absent from the room while this is being done, is brought in and 
led, as if in a state of trance, to a chair within full view of eveiy one present. 
A light piece of drapery is thrown over him so that he is completely covered 
by it, and yet it is thin enough to be translucent, and it can be seen he has not 
gone down through the floor or ascfended up through the ceiling. The audi- 
ence is told the drapery j)revents the sphere or influence or spell that surrounds 
him from being dissipated. He now begins and repeats, word for word, the 
sentences written upon any or all the- slips of paper. Xothing can be more 
astonishing; the paper has not left the possession of the writers; it is equally 
certain that it is impossible that another j^erson could have seen what was 
thereon written, and yet the trick is as simple as it is surprising, and that is 
certainly saying a great deal. 

'• The explanation is as follows: In order to write anything upon the sli]^ of 
paper given out, one must have something firm and flat upon Avhich to jilace 
it, and for this purpose bits of pasteboard of a convenient size are handed 
about the audience. The pasteboard, however, is not solid, as it seems to be; 
the uppermost layer of paper can be separated at one of the edges from the 
layers beneath it, and into this slip white paper introduced. The upjoermost 
layer of paper is blacked Avith crayon or soft pencil on its under side, and what- 
ever is written upon the paper resting upon it is faithfully stenciled or traced 
upon the white paper inserted. The pasteboards, being collected, are taken 
out of the room and given to the performer by his assistant, who may or may 
not be a confederate. That is, if the performer is very skillful, he may dupe 
his assistant as well as his audience. He may tell him, for instance, it is 
necessary for him to have these pasteboard rests and pass his fingers over them 
so that he can become en rapjjort with the person with whom they were in con- 
tact. It is better, however, at least at first, to have a confederate. The rest 
is easy enough. The inserted slips of tell-tale papers are collected and carried 
with him by the performer, who manages to read them either through a hole 
in the drapery or by the light that sifts through it as he sits covered up in his 
chair with his back to the audience. It is well, sometimes, not to have enough 
pasteboard cards to go round the audience, and give apparently at haphazard 
a book, an atlas or portfolio, which, of course, has been neatly covered with 


paper or cloth and supplied with blackened and with wliite p.qier as are the 
pasteboard cards. 

" If anything sliould happen that would prevent reading any particidar strip 
of paper, the performer may at once say thab he does not pretend to be able to 
read all, but only such sentences as appear to his mental vision. This will add 
to the effect and make the trick a2)2)ear all the more mysterious. In supply- 
ing pencils to your audience be sure to give them good, hard ones, that will 
require some pressure to make the writing legible; be careful, too, that the 
paper with which you furnish them is rather thin, so that you will get a good 
tracing on that you have inserted in the pasteboard rest. As each slip is read 
by the performer the assistant should ask if any one in the audience wrote that 
sentence and if it is correctly repeated, and then, stepping to the M'l'iter and 
taking the slip from him or her, he should himself read it aloud and show it 
to any one desirous of seeing it; this enhances the wonder and interest of the 
performance, and also gives the performer time to decipher the next slip. It 
is well to have the sentences take the form ^f questions which the performer 
can read, comment u2')on, and answer in an oracular way, especially as this 
takes up time, and consequently gives fewer selected slips to read during the 
period allotted to the trick; for to read a few is quite as Avonderful as to read 

"Now let the master of occult art cap the climax. Let him again be led 
from the room, ostensibly to have his magic sphere renewed, and let some one 
among the audience write the name of a deceased person, together with their 
own, on a slip of paper. Lay a good deal of stress on the requirement that 
one name shall be that of a person deceased ; this, of course, being only to 
mystify the audience. "When the names have been written the performer is to 
enter the room. He does so with the sleeve of his coat rolled uji, and his arm 
bared to the elbow. After showing there is nothing wpon his arm, he turns 
down his sleeve, readjusts his cuff, and proceeds with his trick. He first names 
the person whom the audience has choseii, in ]n§ absence, to write the name; 
he requests that person to crumj)le up the slip of paper ujkjii which the name 
is written and rub it Avell over his arm just above his cuff, * so that the writing 
will penetrate through his sleeve,' ho says; no'w turning up his sleeve he shows 
the writing that was upon the pa])er in blood-red letters upon his bared arm. 
The manner of performing this ptirt of the ti'ick is, having ascertained, as 
before, the writing upon the sli]i of paper by means of the tracing, to write or 
print it Avith red ink mixed with a little glycerine, or red jirinter's ink, or oil 
color and turpentine, u]ion paper which is to be fastened upon the inside of 
that part of the ])erformer''s coat sleeve which he instructs the person who has 
written the name upon the j)aper to rub with the paper. The paper may be 
neatly pinned to the lining of the sleeve, care being taken that the pins do 
not scratch when the sleeve is turned down." 




The apparatus by means of whicli objects of various sizes — a card, a bird, 
a child, a woman, etc. — may be made to apparently disappear play a large part 
in the exhibitions of magicians, and also in pantomimes and fairy scenes. 
Among such apparatus there are some that are based upon ingenious mechan- 
ical combinations, while others bring in the aid of optics. We shall examine 
a few of them. 

The Magic Portfolio. 

This is an apparatus which an itinerant physicist might have been seen a 
few years ago exhibiting in the squares and at street corners. His method 
was to have a spectator draw a card, which he then placed between the four 
sheets of paper which, folded crossways, formed the flaps of his portfolio. When 
he opened tlie latter again a few instants afterward the card had disappeared. 

kfitf^.,r"'-4M t^^ iMR.' , 


or rather had become transformed. Profiting then by the surprise of his spec- 
tators, the sliowman began to offer tliem his nuigic portfolio at the price of five 
cents for the small size and ten for the large. 

The portfolio was made of two square pieces of cardboard connected by 
four strings, these latter being fixed in such a way that when the two pieces 
of cardboard were open and juxtaposed the external edge of each of tliem was 
connected with the inner edge of the otlier, 

Tliis constituted, after a manner, a double hinge that permitted of the port- 
folio being opened from both sides. To one pair of strings there were glued, 
back to back, two sheets of paper, which, when folded over, formed the flaps 
of the portfolio. It was only necessary, then, to open the latter in one direc- 


tion or the other to render it impossible to open more tluin one of the two sets 
of flaps. 

T|iis device is one that permits of a large number of tricks being performed, 
since every object put under one of the sets of flaps will apparently disappear 
or be converted into something else, at the will of the prestidigitateur. 

Magic I^Isvelopes. 

This trick is a simplification of the foregoing. The afPair consists of sev- 
eral sheets of paper of dift'erent colors folded over, one upon the other. A 
card inclosed within the middle envelope, over which have been folded all the 
others, is found to have disappeared when the flaps are opened again. The 
secret of the trick is very simple. One of the inner sheets of jiaper — the 
second one, usually — is double, and, when folded, forms two env^elopes that 
are back to back. It is only necessary, then, to open one or the other of 
these latter to cause the appearance or disappearance or transformation of such 
objects as have been inclosed within it. 

Magic Boxes. 

Magic boxes are of several styles, according to the size of the objects that 
one desires to make disappear. 

There is no one who has not seen a magician put one or more pigeons into 
the drawer of one of these boxes, and, after closing it, open it to find that tlie 
birds have disappeared. Such boxes contain two drawers, which, when pulled 
out, seem to be but one; and it is only necessary, then, to jiull out the inner 
one or leave it closed in order to render the inclosed birds visible or invisible. 

In order to causb the disappearance of smaller objects, trick performers 
often employ a jewel box, and after putting the object (a ring, for example) 
into this, they hand it to some person and ask him to hold it, requesting him 
at the same time to wrap it up in several sheets of j)aper. But this simple 
motion has permitted the performer to cause the ring to drop into his hand 
through a small trap opening beneath the box. Yet, while he is doing this the 
spectators think that they hear the noise made by the ring striking against the 
sides of the box. Vnxi that is only an illusion; for the noise that is heard pro- 
ceeds from a small hammer which is hidden within the cover under the 
escutcheon, and which is rendered movable when the latter is pressed upon 
by the ])erformer. Tlie box can thus bo shaken without any noise being heard 
within it, and the spectators are led to believe that the object has disappeared. 

Double-bottomed boxes are so well known that it is useless to describe them. 
Sometimes the double bottom is hidden in the cover, and at others it 7'ests 
against one of the sides. Such boxes permit of the disai)poarance or substitu- 
tion of objects that are not very thick, such as a note, an image, or a card. 




Upon a table, at the rising of the curtain, are observed a bottle and a glass, 
the latter full of wine up to the brim. The prestidigitateur pours into the 
bottle half of the liquid, ''which otherwise," he remarks, '"might slop over 
during the voyage." Then two cylinders of the same diameter as the bottle 
are made before the eyes of the spectators out of two sheets of paper and four 

These are designed to cover the bottle and the glass, which have been sepa- 
rated from each other by a short interval (Fig. 1). Instantaneously, and in 
an invisible manner, the 
two objects change places 
twice, and yet there is 
never anything in the pa- 
per cylinders, which are, 
ostensibly, torn into a 
hundred bits. 

Fig. 3 unravels the 
mystery. The bottle is of 
varnished tin, and bottom- 
less. It covers a second 
bottle that is similar, but 
a little smaller, and in the 
center there is concealed 
a glass similar to the one 
that has been shown, but 
empty. It receives the half 
of the wine that was 

poured from the first glass. This operation necessarily contributes toward 
convincing the spectators that they have before them an ordiiuiry bottle pro- 
vided with a bottom and capable of containing a liquid. 

The operator first covers the bottle v.'ith one of tlie paper cyliiulers as if to 
ascertain whether it has the proper diameter, but immediately removes it and 
places it npright upon the table. 

What no one can snspect, however, he has at the same time lifted the first 
bottle by slightly compressing the paper. It is then the second bottle that is 
seen, and which is precisely like the other, the labels of both being turned 
toward the same side and exhibiting a slight tear or a few identical spots 
designed to aid in the deception. 

The operator, having finished his palaver, places the empty cylinder upon 
the second bottle and covers the glass with the one -in which the first bottle 
is concealed (Fig 2). The magic wand is then brought into play, and after 
this the paper cylinder alone is lifted at the side where the glass was in the first 
place seen, while at the opposite side, the bottle, on being removed, exposes the 



glass that it concealed. The operation is begun over again in the opposite 
direction ; and, finally, under pretense of once again showing that either 
paper cylinder can be used indifferently, the operator replaces upon the second 
bottle the cylinder that still contains the first one, unbeknown to the spectators. 
This is done so rapidly that the action is apparently a gesture, but nothing 
more is needed to free the cylinder of its contents and reestablish things in 
their former state. 


To an apple and a ninepin, the principal objects witli which this trick is 
performed, are added as accessories a napkin, a large vessel of dark blue glass, 
and a cone of coarse paper, which is made on the spot by molding it over 
the ninepin. 

First Disappearance (Fig. 1). — The apple, "in order that it maybe more 
in sight," is placed upon the inverted glass. V, under the paper cone, while 


the inverted ninepin is covered with the napkin, S, through which it is held. 
All at once the napkin, quickly seized by the two corners, is vigorously shaken, 
and the ninepin has disappeared, or, rather, it is found upon the glass in place 
of the a})ple, which has passed into the prestidigitatour's pocket. 

Second Disappearance (Fig. 3). — The api)lo, first placed upon the table, is 
thrown invisibly toward the paper cone, under which, in fact, it is found. 



And the ninepin ? ' The prestidigitateur '' had forgotten " to tell it where it was 
to go when he sent the apple in its place. As he gives up trying to find it and 
seizes the blue vessel inordeptoput it in place, it is seen tliat the ninepin, 
driven by the apple, has passed underneath. 

Fig. 3 renders an explanation scarcely necessary. At the moment that the 
paper cone was made, the ninepin. A, was covered with a dummy, B, of thin 
metal, which remained in the cone when the latter was removed. In the 
napkin, formed of two napkins sewed together by their edges, was concealed, 
between the two fabrics, a small disk of cardboard of the same diameter as the 
base of the ninepin. The latter was allowed to fall secretly behind the table 
into a box lined with silk waste, only the cardboard disk being held, thanks to 
which the napkin preserved the same form that it possessed when the ninepin 
was beneath it, as shown in Fig. 1. There is no need of explanation in regard 
to the apple that comes out of the prestidigitateur's pocket and which is 
similar to the one that remained on the glass and was hidden by the false nine- 
pin that covered it when the paper cone alone was removed. 

For the second disappearance the apple, placed upon the table, is 
surrounded by the two hands of the prestidigitateur, who, while it is thus 
concealed, by a blow given with the little finger of the right hand, sends it 
rolling on to a shelf behind the table. His hands, nevertheless, presers^e the 
same position as if they held the apple. It is the first one that is seen upon 
the foot of the glass, the false ninepin being removed this time with the pai3er 
cover. Under the glass there is a second false ninepin, C, of metal, painted 
dark blue in the interior and which has a narrow flange through A\ihich it 
rests upon the edge of the glass, of which it seems to form a part. Fig. 3 
shows it in section with the glass, and also the different pieces as they are 
arranged at the beginning of the experiment. 


Exhibit a goblet which is apparently nearly full 
of ink, and place it upon a table. In order to prove 
that the goblet really contains ink, partially immerse 
a visiting card in the liquid, and, on taking it out, 
show that it has been blackened. With an ordinary 
spoon dip out some of the ink and pour it into a 
saucer. Then, having borrowed a ring, pretend to 
dip it into the ink, but really allow it to drop into the 
saucer. Announce that you are going to make amends 
for your awkwardness, not by plunging your hand 
into the liquid, which would have the inconvenience 
of blackening it, but by rendering the ink colorless 
instantaneously. Take a white napkin or a large 

FIG. 1. 


sized silk handkerchief and cover the glass with it. Upon removing the 
napkin or handkerchief, the glass will be found to contain clear Avater in which 
living fish are swimming. The hand may then be dipped into the liquid and 

the ring be taken out without fear. 

The trick is performed as follows: 
Take a goblet containing water and some 
fish, and place against the inner surface a 
piece of black rubber cloth, to which at- 
tach a black thread that is allowed to 
hang down a few inches outside of the 
glass, and to the extremity of which is 
attached a small cork. Of course, the 
thread and cork must be placed at the 
side of the glass opposite the spectator. 

Cover the glass Avith the napkin, and 
on removing the latter, grasp the cork, 
so as to raise it as well as the rubber cloth 
in the interior. 

As for the card, that should have been 
previously blackened on one side for about 
three-quarters of its length, and, after 
being immersed in the liquid, with the 
white side toward the spectator, should be 
pifj _ 2 quickly turned around so as to show the 

blackened side. As for the liquid taken 
out with the spoon, care should have been taken to previously fixiu the interior 
of the bowl a few particles of aniline black soluble in water, by breathing on 
the spoon before introducing the powder, this serving to fix it. Then the water 
taken out with the spoon will be converted into ink, which may be poured 
into a plate or saucer. 


Being given an ordinary glass half full of wine, which everybody can exam- 
ine closely, and. a hat situated at a distance, the question is to cover the glass 
witii a piece of paper, and thence to send it invisibly into the hat. 

A small piece of wood or paper that a spectator has put in the wine, or 
any mark whatever that has been made upon the glass, will permit of verifying 
the fact that it is really the same glass that was first exhibited, and that is 
afterwards found in the hat. 

In order to perform this trick, it is necessary to have one of those double 
glasses (Fig. 4) that can be easily obtained in variety stores, and which contain 
between their double sides a red liquid that has been introduced through the 



foot of tlie glass, which is hollow. A small cork, h, which is absolutely 
invisible if it is not examined very closely, is inserted and withdrawn at will in" 
order to change the lif|uid; but, for our trick, there is no occasion to occupy 
ourselves with these details. This double glass is kept concealed until the 
moment arrives for using it. 

A second glass — this is a simple one (Fig. 4, B) and of the same appear- 
ance as the other — is iilled with wine, in the presence of the spectators, to a 
level equal to that reached by the red liquid in the double glass. 

The prestidigitateur, after exhibiting the interior of the hat so as to allow 
it to be seen that the latter is empty, introduces into it, while he turns his 
Ijack to the spectators, the 
double glass which he 
had concealed under his 
arm, and which can be 
handled without any fear 
of spilling the liquid that 
it contains. The hat is 
then placed upon the 

Afterward, taking the 
simple glass in his hands, 
the prestidigitateur asks 
the spectators whether he 
shall make it pass visibly 
or invisibly into the hat. 
As a usual tbing sugges- 
tions are divided, and so, 
in order to j^lease every- 
body, the glass is first put ostensibly into the hat and then immediately taken 
out; that, at least, is what is thought by the spectators, who are very readv to 
laugh at the little hoax played upon those who perhaps expected to see the glass 
carried through the air upon the wings of the wind. But the prestidigitateur 
has taken care to leave the simple glass in the hat, and to take out, in place of 
it, the double glass, which he presently spirits away with ease by the following 
process. The glass having been placed upon the table, lie covers it with a 
square piece of strong paper, which he folds around it in such a way as to 
make it follow its contours and completely conceal it (Fig. 1). This paper, 
which must be very stiff, as well as strong, afterward preserves the form upon 
which, so to speak, it has been molded, although it is no longer supported by 
tiie glass, which has been allowed to fall behind the table into a sort of pocket 
of canvas, or into a box lined with silk waste, arranged to this effect (Fig. 2). 

The prestidigitateur, having thus got rid of the glass, walks toward the 
s])ectators, delicately pressing the top of the paper between the thumb and 
forefinger of the left hand, as if he still held the glass in the paper, and the 
foot of which seems to be supported by tlie right hand. A spectator is then 



invited to take the glass with the paper, and care is taken to advise him not to 
allow the wine to run np his sleeves. He then stretches out his hands, but 
at the same instant the paper, suddenly crumpled into a ball, is thrown tnto 
the air, and the glass of wine has passed invisibly into the hat. 


After having done considerable talking, as required by his profession, a 
prestidigitateur is excusable for asking. permission of his spectators to refresh 
himself in their presence, especially if he invites one of them to come to keep 
him company. 


An assistant then brings in upon a tray two claret glasses and two perfectly 
transparent decanters, one of which contains red wine and the other water. 
The prestidigitateur asks his guest to select one of the two decanters and leave 
the other for himself. No hesitation is possible. The guest hastens to seize 
the wine and each immediately fills his glass. How astonishing! Upon its 
contact with the glass the wine changes into water and the water becomes wine. 
Judge of tiie hilarity of the spectators and the amazement of the victim! 
The j)retended wine was nothing but the following composition: one gram 
j)otassium permanganate and two grams sulphuric acid dissolved in one 
quart of wat(n-. 'I'liis liquid is instantaneously decolorized on entering the 
glass, at the bottom of which lias been placed a few drops of water saturated 



with sodium hyposulphite. As for the water in the second decanter, that had 
had considerable alcohol added to it, and at the bottom of the glass that was 
^o receive it had been placed a small pinch of aniline red, which, as well 
known, possesses strong tinctorial properties. The glasses must be carried 
away immediately, since in a few moments the wine changed into water loses its 
limpidity and assumes a milky appearance. The mixtures are, of course, 


Street venders are often seen selling, at night, a little mouse which they 
place upon the back of their hand, and which keeps running as if, having been 
tamed, it wished to take refuge upon them. In order to prevent it from 
attaining its object, they interpose the other hand, and then the first one, 
which is now free, and so on. The mouse keeps on running until the vender 
has found a purchaser 
for it at the moderate 
price of two cents, in- 
cluding the instructions 
for jnauipulatii^g it, for, 
as may have been divined, 
it is not a question here 
of a live mouse, but of a 
toy. This little toy is 
based upon two effects — 
first, an effect of optics; 
and second, the effect 
due to an invisible thread. 

The mouse, which is 
flat beneath, is provided 
near the head with a 
small hook, and the op- 
erator has fixed to a but- 
tonhole a thread ten inches in length, terminating in a loop. He fixes this 
loop in the hook above mentioned, and, tautening the thread, places the mouse 
upon the back of his left hand (near the little finger, for example). 

On moving the hand away from the body, the mouse, which does not stir, 
seems to slide over the back of the hand, and, at the moment that it is about 
to fall on reaching the thumb, the right hand, passed beneath, arrives just in 
time to catch it near the little finger, whence, by the same movement as before, 
it seems to go toward the thumb. 

In order to perform the experiment off-hand, it suffices to take a cork and 
carve it into the form of a mouse, then cut away the under part of the animal 
thus rough-shaped, so that it may lie perfectly flat, then make two ears out of 



cardboard, and a tail out of a piece of twine, and finally blacken tbe whole in 
the flame of a candle. After this, the black thread, terminating in a ball of 
soft wax or a i)iu hook, having been fixed to a button-hole, allow the spectators 
to examine the mouse, and, after is returned to you, fix the thread, either by 
its ball of wax or its hook, to the front of the flat part of the rodent, which 
you may then cause to run as above described. 


The sand frame is a very ingeniously constructed little apparatus which is 
employed in different tricks of prestidigitation for causing the disappearajice 
of a card, a photograph, a sealed letter, an answer written upon a sheet of 
jiaper, etc. 

In appearance it is a simple, plush-covered frame, tlie back of which opens 
with a hinge behind a glass, which, at first sight, presents nothing peculiar. 

In reality, there are two 
glasses separated from eacli 
other by an interval of three 
millimeters. The lower side 
of the frames is hollow and 
forms a reservoir filled with 
very fine blue sand. In tiie 
iiiterior the door is covered 
with blue paper of the same 
shade as the sand. The card, 
})ortrait, or letter that is sub- 
se(|uently to appear is placed 
in the frame in advance, but, 
in order to render it invisible, 
the latter is held vertically, 
the reservoir at the top. The 
sand then falls, and fills the 
space that separates the two 
glasses, and the blue surface 
thus formed behind the first 
glass seems to be the back of 
the frame. In order to cause 
the appearance of the con- 
cealed object, the frame is 
placed vertically, Avith the 
roBcrvoir at the botlDin. and covered with a silk handkerchief. In a few seconds 
till! sand will have disa])|)eared. The door that closes the back nniy be o])ened 
by a s|)eiUator and the frame shown close by. provided that il be held vertically 
in order to prevent the ,sand from ajipearing between the two glasses. 

ilK SAM) IliAME. 


1 O ** 


Fig. 2 shows the frame us seen from behind. The door. P, is seen open, 
and at S is seen the sand falling between the two glasses. In the section at the 
side, V and V are the two glasses, P, the door, and K, tiie reservoir. 

Another experiment may ]>e made by means of a small standard on a foot, 
A, upon which a spectator has placed the seven of hearts. The card passes into 
the frame. To tell the truth, it is removed by the cover, C, along with the thin 
disk, D, that covered tlje foot, A, and upon whicli it was placed. It will be 
said that we have here to do with a double bottom. Allow the cover, C, before 
covering the card, and the foot, A, after the experiment is finished, to be 
examined. Is the cover asked for again ? One will hasten to show it without 
saying that the back edge of the table has just been struck with it in order to 
cause the disk, D, and the card to fall on to the shelf. 


This ball, which was recently seen in a toy shop, has the aspect, externallv, 
of the one used in the familiar toy known as the "■ cup and ball.'" Extending 
through its center there is a straight cylindrical aperture, and when a cord is 
[jassed through the latter, the ball easily slides along it. 

iiouDLN s maor; ball. 


If a person who is in the secret holds the cord by its two extremities, things 
change, since the ball, far from falling, descends very slowly along the string, 
or even remains stationary, and does not move again until the operator allows 
it to. This trick, which was formerly performed by Eobert-IIovidin with a ball 
of large size, very mnch surprised sjiectators. 

How does the affair work '? That is explained in the section of the magic 
ball shown in the figure. In addition to tbe central aperture, there is another 
and curved one, which ends near the extremities of the axial perforation, and 
a person in the secret, while making believe jiass the cord through the straight 
aperture, actually passes it through the ctirved one. It will now be apparent 
that it is only necessary to tighten the cord more or less in order to retard or 
stop the descent of the ball. To the left of the engraving is seen the magic 
ball thus suspended between the operator's hands. 




The tricks performed by jugglers afford a most wonderful example of the 
perfection that our senses and organs are capable of attaining under the influ- 
ence of exercise. 

The juggler is obliged to give impetuses that vary iufinitesimally. He 
must know the exact spot whither his ball will go, calculate the parabola that 
it will describe, and know the exact time that it will take to describe it. His 
eye must take in the position of three, four, or five balls that are sometimes 
several yards apart, and he must solve these different problems in optics, 
mechanics, and mathematics 

instantaneously, ten, fifteen, «g 

twenty times per minnte, and "N, 

that, too, in the least con- 
venient position — upon the 
back of a running horse, upon 
a tight-rope, upon a ball, or 
upon a barrel that lie causes to 
revolve. His dexterity is won- 
derful. Many jugglers are 
content to perform their feats 
of skill with their hands, 
and, in addition, do balancing 
wortliy of remark. 

We can obtain experi- 
mentally some idea of the dex- 
terity shown by a juggler by 
trying for ourselves the sim- 
plest of his tricks. Whoever 
IS capable of throwing two 
balls into the air at once, and 
catching them in succession .'...?.■<- 

while standing steadily in the 
same spot, and without being fig. l. 


obliged to step to the right or left, or nndergoiug contortions, is endowed wiUi 
an undoubted aptitude for juggling. On the other hand, whoever can stand 
upright upon a rickety chair without any feeling of fear, or cross a country 
brook, not upon a tight-rope or wire (which would be too much to ask for a 
debut), but upon a plank of two hands' width, and do this without a quick 
palpitation of the heart, has an aptitude for tight-ro})^ walking. 

To perform with a couple 
'^ ■:' _ of balls, however, is quite sim- 

ple, and many children suc- 
ceed in it after a few days' 
practice. They proceed as 
follows: Having a ball in each 
hand, they throw the one in 
the right vertically into the 
air, pass into the right the 
one that is in the left and 
throw this up too, receive the 
first ball in the left hand, 
and pass it into the right, 
throw it up again, and soon; 
so that the two balls are al- 
most constantly in the air, 
eave during the time it takes 
to receive the ball with orie 
hand and pass it into the 
other. If, instead of iising 
both hands, the child em[)loys 
but one, receiving and throw- 
ing one ball while the other 
is in the air, the difficulty is 
greater, and the young man 
who can perform this operation twenty times without dropping one of the 
balls can treat the artist of the circus as a coufrhre. To perform with three 
balls it is necessary to have been taught by a professor. Moreover, it should 
be remarked that the art of juggling has sufficient advantages as regards the 
development of the touch, the quick calculation of distances, the nimbleness of 
the fingers, and the accuracy of the eye and of motion, to cause it to be added 
to those gymnastic exercises which children are taught at school. It is to this 
art that the celebrated prestidigitateur llobert-IIoudin attributcnl the dexterity 
and accuracy that he displayed in his tricks. In his memoirs, he relates that, 
while taking some lessons from an old juggler, he applied himself so closely 
to the exercises that at the end of a month he could learn nothing further 
fi-oiM his instructor. "I succeeded," says he, "■ in performing with four balls, 
l)Ut tiiat did )iot satisfy my ambition. I wished, if it were [)ossible, to surpass 
that faculty of reading by appieciatiou, which I had so much admired iu 

• — -4>i>> ^ A, 

FIG. 3. 



pianists; so I placed a book in front of me, and, while the four balls were 
flying in the air, accustomed myself to read without hesitation. It could not 
be believed how much delicacy and certainty of execution this exercise com- 
municated to my fingers, and what quickness of perception it gave mv eve. 
After in this way rendering my hands supple and obedient, I no longer hesi- 
tated to directly practice prestidigitation." 

In order to keep their hand in, professional jugglers have to exercise daily, 
since a few days of voluntary or forced rest would necessitate double work in 
order to give the hands their 
former suppleness and dex- 
terity. As is well known, the 
same is the case with the agil- 
ity of the danscuse, with 
whom one day of rest often 
moans more than eight days 
of double work. 

Some jugglers perform 
with objects of the most di- 
verse nature, throwing up, 
for example, at the same time, 
a large ball, an orange, and 
a piece of paper, and giving 
these articles of different size 
and weight such an impul- 
sion that each falls and is 
thrown again at the moment 
desired. Some jugglers, as 
a support, use merely a simple 
wooden bar held vertically, 
and upon the top of which 
they i^erform their various 

feats of dexterity or contortion. It is the same apparatus formerly used by 
Greek acrobats, and, by reason of its form, called naravpor (perch for fowls). 
Some acrobats even balance themselves on the head at the top of this perch, 
with their legs extended in lieu of a balancing pole. Their arms are free, 
and they eat, drink, smoke, shoot off a pistol, jierform with balls and daggers, 
and, in a word, perform the most diverse feats (Fig. 2). 

Some jugglers are capable of performing extremely curious feats of dexter- 
ity with the most diverse objects; for example, with rings that they throw into 
the air, with hats that they revolve by striking the rim, or with a flag or na]>kin 
that they revolve. These hats and napkins no longer seem to obey the laws of 
gravity. Others, by means of a streamer, form helices and graceful curves; 
and others, again, by means of a simple bit of paper, succeed in reproducing 
the Japanese butterfly trick. Japanese maidens are noted for performing 
this with extraordinary grace and skill. 

FIG. 3. 



The application of mechanics to scenic and gymnastic displays has an inter- 
esting exponent in the revolving trapeze, an exhibition which, after attracting 
much attention in England, has come back to the United States. 

In the smaller cut we illnstrate the mechanism of tlie apparatus, while 
the performance execnted npon the apparatus is shown in the larger cut. 
From the ceiling of the great auditorium is suspended a vertical three sided 
rectangular frame open at the bottom. In its lower extremity is journaled at 

tlie center a four-sided rectangular frame, 
from whose extremities two trapezes hang. 
To the upper side of the vertical frame 
is secured a bicycle, which, by gearing 
shown in the small cut, connects with the 
axle of the lower frame, so that when 
the cranks of the bicycle are worked 
tlie lower frame is turned round and 
round. It can be brought into accurate 
balance by means of shot. The whole ap- 
paratus, including the bicycle, is studded 
with incandescent electric lamps, and the 
performer who rides the bicycle wears a 
helmet carrying electric lights. The very 
striking performance is explained in great 
measure by the cut. 

One of the performers sits on the bi- 
cycle and, turning the cranks, as if rid- 
ing, keeps the lower frame in rotation, 
while two performers go through differ- 
ent evolutions on the trapezes thus carried 
around through the air. A switch board is placed at the head of the bicycle, 
and by mani])ulating switches the vari-colored electric lights are turned on and 
off so as to produce any desired effect. IndependentLof the high merit of the 
performance simply as gymnastics, the mechanical points are of value; for ease 
and safety of manipulation and security from any failure is an absolute es- 
sential. No one has anything to do with its operation exceiit the three per- 
formers, so that it is constantly under their control. Where any attempt is 
made to operate such mechanism from behind the scenes, there is always a 
great liability of trouble or partial failure; but here the performer on the 
bicycle does all the work of actuating tlie mechanit-al portion and has every 
part under constant supervision and control, while the illuminated bicycle, 
located as it is at great lieight from the floor, is an added attraction. The 
length of the trapeze ropes, it will be observed, is so adjusted as to allow the 
performer to pass through the frame without touching it, and the absence of 
a center bar in the frame is necessary to the same end. 




A performance of considerable scientific interest lias been jiroduced in this 
and other cities which is presented in the accompaoying illustration.* In 
order to procure a perfectly smooth surface to walk on, a board twenty-four 
and one-half feet long is suspended from the ceiling, and near one end of this 
is a trapeze. The lower surface of the board is painted, and is smooth and 
polished. The performer, who is known as Aimee, the hnman fly, is equipped 
with pneumatic attachments to the soles of her shoes. Sitting in the trapeze 
with her face to the audience, she draws herself upward by the arms, and raises 
her feet until they jDress against the board. They adhere by atmospheric 
pressure. She leaves the trapeze, and hangs head downward, as shown. 
Taking very short steps, not over eight inches in length, she gradually walks 
the length of the board backward. She then slowly turns round, taking very 
short steps while turning, and eventually returns, still walking backward. 
This closes the performance. 

To provide against accident a net is stretched under the board. The per- 
former has frequently fallen, but so far no serious accident has happened. 
There is a certain art in managing the fall, as, if the shock were received 
directly by the spinal column, it might be very severe. 

The attachment to the shoe is, in general terms, an india-rubber sucker 
with cup-shaped adhering surface. It is a disk four and one-half inches in 
diameter and five-eighths of an inch thick. To its center a stud is attached, 
which is perforated near the end. This stud enters a socket fastened to the 
sole of the shoe. The socket is also perforated transversely. A pin is passed 
through the apertures, securing the hold between socket and disk. The socket 
is under the instep and is attached to the sliank of the shoe sole. 

A wire loop that extends forward under the toe of the shoe is pivoted on 
two studs which are secured on each end of the transverse central diameter of 
the disk. This loop is normally held away from the disk and pressing against 
the shoe sole by a spring. One end of the loop projects back toward and over 
the rear edge of the disk. A short piece of string is secured to the India 
rubber and passes through a hole in the extension, or rearwardly projecting 
arm, of the loop. IMie disk when pressed against a smooth surface is held fast 
by the pressure of the atmosphere. If now the loo]) is pressed toward the 
surface to which it adheres, the string will be drawn tight and will pull the 
edge of the india rubber away from the board. Air will rush in, and the 
adhesion will cease. As each new step is taken, one disk is made to adhere by 
pressure, and the other is detached by the action just described. 

The power of the disk to sustain the weight of a performer may be easily 

* The ]K;rformer asofuids to the top ofrhe iuidicnfc hall and walkw on the ceiling, head 
down. The ease with which it is ui)j)arently done is marvelous. 



Each sucker is ^^ inches in diameter, and contains therefore 10 square 
inches of surface. The full atmospheric pressure for the area would amount 
to 240 jDounds. The stud and socket attachment provides a central bcciring, so 
that the full advantage of this and the disk is obtained, and a fairly perfect 
vacuum procured. As the i)erformer only weighs about 125 pounds, there is 
about 115 pounds to spare with a perfect vacuum. 


At the circus of the Champs Elysees, at Paris, a performance was given 
a few years ago that w^ould really put the sagacity of the spectators to the test, 
did not the performer explain it after his exhibition. 

A ball, thirty inches in diameter, is brought into the ring and placed on 
top of a sloping bridge formed of two jilanks with an intervening platform 
(Fig. 1). All at once the ball begins to rock a little, and then moves to the 
edge of the platform, whence one might expect to see it roll immediately to 
the base of the inclined plane; but it does nothing of the sort. It stops at the 
edge and begins to descend with precaution. It seems to hesitate, passes over 
but a small space, then ascends a little, stops again, and then starts off again 
in fine style. When it has reached the base of the inclined plane, the lower 
extremity of which is about twenty inches from the ground, it stops, and then 
rapidly ascends to the top again. Here tlie mystery begins to be explained. 
All at once a flag is seen to make its exit through a small aperture, then a shot 
is fired from the interior; the ball is certainly inhabited. This we soon have 
proof of, for, after rolling rapidly to the base of the second inclined pUme, it 
falls ui")on a cushion placed upon the gronnd, where a man steps forth from it. 
It is the clown Lepere. It is very surprising to see a man of such a stature 
(five feet) make his exit from so small a ball. 

Although we have seen " india-rubber men " who could place themselves 
in so confined a space, we cannot compare their performance to that of M. 
Lepere, who not only places himself within his ball, but moves therein with a 
skill that is truly wonderful. It is necessary, in fact, to have a remarkable 
sense of equilibrium and remarkable suppleness to be able, in such a position, 
to contimuUly displace the center of gravity of the ball and keep it always in 
the vertical plane passing through the axis of the bridge. Our second engrav- 
ing shows how M. Lepere places himself. After the ball is closed, an equilib- 
rium exists oidy when he is seated. 

A\ hen he wishes to make his ball move forward, he must bend over and 
walk upon his hands and knees, after the manner of a squirrel in his wheel. 
But liow many precautions have to be taken to make the axis of the body 
coincide with that of the bridge, so that the ball shall not fall fi-om the inclined 
])lane, which is but twelve inches wide! And what agility does it not require 
to react immediately against the velocity ac({uired after the ball, in conse- 


qnence of a displacement, has begun to roll! Center of gravity, velocity, and 
inertia are principles of mecluinics that exhibitions of strength and dexterity 
often put ujider contribution. Although clowns do not bother themselves 
much with learning the principles of mechanics upon which their perform- 
ances are based, iliey apply them with wonderful dexterity and have a sort of 
instinct, a special aptitude, which permits tliem cpiickly to find the position 
of equilibrium. The pei'formance that ]\[. Lepere presents in so ingenious and 
new' a fashion is an evident proof of this. 





Burning is nndoiibtedly that kind of pain against which the human 
being most strongly revolts, and the fear of being burned is not confined to 
man alone, but exists also as an instinct in the entire animal kingdom. This 
fear, the liorror of being burned, which is so powerful in men, accounts for 
tlie fact that in all times the wonder and curiosity of the public have been 
excited by those who are capable of handling burning coals or red-hot iron with 
impunity, or of touching molten metal, and by those who are proof against flames 
or burning water or oil. There are many examples in history of individuals 
who are more or less fireproof, and the trials by fire in ancient and mediaeval 
times do not need to be cited here. It was not until about 1G?7 that the ques- 
tion of the proof of man 
against fire Avas looked at 
from a scientific standpoint. 
This was done by the phy- 
sician Dodart, a member of 
the Academy of Sciences. 
These studies were i^rovoked 
by the wonderful tricks 
which were being performed 
at that time in Paris by 
ati English chemist named 
Richardson. Dodart ex- 
plained that these experi- 
ments could be performed 
without the aid of any 
chemical prejiaration, by 
taking a few precautions, and 
also that the success of them 
depended upon the harden- 
ing that the epidermis may 
acquire under the influence 
ot an oft-repeated action. a mountebank licking a red-hot bak of iron. 


This hardening of the skin among laborers results in their frequently being 
able to handle red-hot iron and lighted coals with impunity. This, however, 
does not suffice to explain the tricks of those individuals who exhibit in public 
as fireproof. The experiments of the Italian physician and chemist, Sementini, 
have shown that there are prejiarations which, when put upon the skin, render 
the latter absolutely insensible to contact with fire or incandescent materials. 
His first experiments had no result; finally, after submitting himself to repeated 
friction with sulphurous acid, he was ejiabled to apply a red-hot iron to his 


Bkin with impunity. Continuing his experiments, he found that a solution of 
alum had the same property. One day, having accidentally rubbed soap upon 
the surface of a hand that had previously been impregnated with alum, he 
found that the hand was still further proof against fire. He then discovered 
that a layer of powdered sugar covered with soap sufficed to render liis tongue 
entirely insensible to heat. After all these experiments Sementini succeeded 
in making liimself much better proof against fire than was the charlatan who 
first suggested the experiment to h'uu. 

Fire eaters have always been very popular on the vaudeville stage, and we 
|)i'<'sciit iin engnvving shewing two five eaters at tho ()lympia Theater, Paris. 



When the performers appear upon the stage, they are clad in a tight-fitting 
costume of a red color which represents that of the devils of fairy scenes. 
The stage Upon which tlicy appear is but dimly lighted during their presence 
upon it. The devils, after making their bow, go to the rear of the stage, and 
put some preparations upon their hands; they come to the front of tiie stage 
and cause very thin but brilliant flames to dart from their fingers; bringing 
these flames near to their mouths, they seem to swallow them and then extin- 
guish them between their teeth. When the two devils touch each other's hands 
a crackling sound is heard, and long flames dart forth for a few seconds from 
the tips of their fingers, which they continuously move. They subsequently 

experiment without putting ^ 

anything in their mouths; | "^ 

they blow with energy, and a 

brilliant flame makes its exit 

from between their lips. They 

shoot forth a bed of flame for 

a considerable length of time, 

which certainly exceeds half 

a minute. The combustion is 

due to a very volatile essence. 

Certain eaters of burning 
tow proceed as follows: They 
form a little ball of material 
which they tightly compress 
and then light, and allow to 
burn up almost entirely. 
Then I'olling this in new tow 
in order to guard the mucous 
membrane in the mouth 
against contact with the in- 
candescent ball, they breathe 
gently, taking care while do- 
ing so to inhale only through 
the nose, and thus project 
smoke and sparks. 

Another trick of the fire eaters is when they pretend to drink burning oil. 
A little kerosene oil is poured iuto an iron ladle. The oil is now lighted, and 
while the ladle is held in the left hand, an iron spoon is dipped into the oil as 
though to take a spoonful; but in reality the spoon is only wet, and when it is 
brought blazing to the mouth the operator throws back his head as though to 
swallow it, and at the same time a slight pufl is given by the breath, which 
blows it out. This trick is very effective if well done, but the reader is 
especially cautioned against trying any experiments in tricks of this kind, as 
the results are apt to l>e dangerous except in the hands of experts. This will 
be seen by what is called the sponge trick. Two or three small sponges are 



placed in an iron ladle, gasolene is poured over tlieni, only a sufiicient quan- 
tity being used to wet tbem; they must in no case drip. The sj^onges are now 
set on fire, and the experimenter takes up one of them with his tongs, and, 
throwing his head back, drops the blazing sponge into his month. He expels 
his breath quickly all the time. Suddenly he closes his mouth; this cuts off 
the oxygen necessary for combustion, and the flame immediately goes out. Per- 
formers who jn'esent fire tricks for the amusement of a company frequently 
try experiments which give a ghastly ajopearance to the audience. This is done 
by pouring a few ounces of alcohol into a basin containing a handful of salt. 
When this is lighted tlie complexion of. everyone is hideous.. A slightly differ- 
ent effect isnsed by infusing saffron in alcohol for a number of hours, and then 
adding salt as before; it is usually poured upon tow which is lighted. There 
are some liquids that have the property of taking fire and burning without 
injuring the object upon which they are ponred and without producing any 
painful sensation upon the skin. As a usual thing such liquids are very vola- 
tile and consist of essential oils, ether, etc. The reason that some substances 
can be burned without injuring them, or uj^on the skin without burning, are 
explained as follows: These substances are very volatile, and their tension is 
considerable, and, in reality, when they are burning, it is merely their vapor 
which is on fire. Tliis vapor then tends to borrow heat from the liquid, 
whence the latter may remain at a relatively low temperature while the surface 
is on fire. This is a reasonable explanation of the curious phenomenon of the 
burning liquid. 


The sword employed is a simple, thin, flexible blade of steel, liot at all 
sharp, and the plan of which is seen at A in the accomiaanying cut. The 
point is sufficiently blunt to prevent it from doing any harm. 

As for the prestidigitateur, whose body the sword will simply pass around, 
but not 2'>ierce, he carries concealed beneath his vest a sort of sheath that con- 
sists of a tube of rectangular section, and semicircular in shape, and the two 
extremities of which are bent in contrary directions in such a way that they 
arc situated in the same straight line, the two orifices opening in front and 
behind at right angles with the abdomen. This apparatus, B, is held in place 
by cords attached to two small rings at the two extremities of the tube. 

It is the ])restidigitateur himself who, appearing instinctively to grasp tlie 
point of the sword as if to protect himself, directs it into the metallic tube. 
It makes its exit between the tails of the coat. It might be made to come out 
at the center of the back, but in this case it would be necessary to have an 
aperture formed in the seam of tlie coat. The illusion produced is com- 
plete, seeing that tlie flexible blade straightens out on making its exit from the 
tube, on account of the form of the hitter's extremity. It is necessary to 



operate rapidly, so that the spectators sliall not have time to see that the length 
of tiie sword has diminished at this moment, the curved line that it follows not 
being the shortest passage from one point to another. 


The figure represents a variant of the trick in which the sword is provided 
with an eye through which a long red ribbon is passed, and wliich follows the 
blade when the latter is pulled out at the oj^posite side of the body. 


Japanese jugglers, as well known, are possessed of very extraordinary skill. 
A few years ago two of them performed the following feat, which required 
a wonderful dexterity. One of them stood, with arms exteuded, in front of 
a thick board placed vertically; and the other, armed with a number of wide- 
bladed knives, stationed himself at a distance of about six yards from the 
board, and from thence threw the knives with a sure hand and stuck one of 
them in the board just above the head of the target, two of them very close to 
the right and left of the neck, and others around the arms; in a word, he out- 
lined the form of his companion with the knives stuck very deeply into the 
board. This performance met with extraordinary success, and an effort was 
at once made to reproduce it; but as such dexterity is not possessed by every- 
body, aud as, in addition, the operation is dangerous, the following substitute 
was devised by M. Voisin for the use of prestidigitateurs. 












































































The board that is employed in this case, instead of being, as in the genu- 
ine performance, a simple one, is a piece of cabinet work containing an ingen- 
ious mechanism. The place which the human target will occupy on this 
board is carefully marked, and the knives that are to be stuck into the board 
in succession around such place arc contained in the cabinet work, which, at 
first sight and at a short distance, seems to be absolutely without preparation. 

Each of these knives is fixed by its point upon a pivot. In addition, it is 
controlled by a spring, and is concealed within the board by a very finely 
adjusted double-valved window, which, at the proper moment, opens and 
allows it to appear, and then closes. The spring causes the knife to fall or rise 
according to the place that the latter is to occupy, ^'o. 'Z of the engraving 
shows the window opening to allow of the fall of the knife, which Avill appear 
as if stuck into the board just above the instep. In each of the valves the 
angles that meet each other are cut slopingly either at the top or bottom, 
according as the knife is to fall or rise, in order to make space for the blade 
when the valves are closed. Before the exit of the knife, the incision is closed 
with modeling wax the color of the wood. In our engraving the incision is at 
the bottom. 

Naturally the knives are concealed in the board in such a way that on 
making their exit the field shall be free, and that they shall not come into con- 
act with the limbs of the target. Each of these knives, with its window, 
forms a distinct apparatus, which is controlled by a rod that ends at the edge 
of the board just at the place where the fingers of the human target can reach 
them. It is he who, by pressing ujwn the ends of the rods as if upon the 
keys of a piano, causes the blades to come out of their place of concealment, 
one after another, and appear as if they had just stuck into the board. The 
sound made by the spring in expanding and the sudden ajipearance of the 
knife, combined with the motion of the person throwing it, affords a complete 
illusion. Let us add that each knife mounted on a pivot at its point, as we 
liave explained, may he easily disengaged from its axis when, after the opera- 
tion, the pei'son who threw the knives makes believe to pull them out by force 
from the wood in which they seem to be inserted. 

The board having been invented, it became necessary to find a method of 
throwing the knives in such a way as to cause them to disappear. To this 
effect the board is placed on one side of the stage, near the side scenes, and 
the person who throws the knives stations himself on the other side of the 
stage, near the opposite side scenes, and he can therefore act in two ways, viz., 
first, in poising his arms to take aim, he can, at the last moment, throw the 
knife between the side scenes back of him while he takes a step forward. The 
knife supposed to be thrown thus disappears completely at the desired moment, 
but, since the spectators do not see the flash of the blade, traversing the stage, 
it is preferable to employ the second method. This consists in a genuine 
throwing of the knife, but in such a. way as to cause it to pass by the board 
and fall between the side scenes, where the sound of its fall is deadened l)y 
some such material as a piece of carpet. In both of these two methods, it is 


for the human target to press the spring of tlie knife that he wishes to make 
appear at just the precise moment, in order that the click of the expanding 
spring may be taken by the spectators for the sound of the knife sticking into 
the wood. 

This triclv, when well executed, has often deceived the shrewdest specta- 
tors, and that, too, with so much the more facility in that many had seen the 
Japanese perform in the middle of a circus, where it was impossible to con- 
ceal the knife, since it could be followed by the eye in its travel from the hand 
of the Japanese to the point where it penetrated the board. 

To be precise, and to omit no information, let ns say in conclusion, that 
there exist boards in which the freeing of the knives is effected by the pulling 
of a thread held in the side scenes by a third party. This process has the 
advantage that there is no danger of the spectators seeing the manipulation of 
the rods ; but, on the other hand, it has its inconveniences, viz., in a place 
where a communication cannot be established between the invisible confederate 
and the mechanical board, the use of it is impossible, and it is necessary to 
employ the other method. 


When a physician introduces his linger, the handle of a spoon, or a pencil 
into the throat of a patient, the latter exjieriences an extremely disagreeable 
sensation. Any touching of the pharynx, however slight it be, causes 
strangling, pain, and nausea, and the organ reacts with violence against the 
obstacle that presents itself to free respiration. There is no one who has not 
more than once experienced this disagreeable impression, and for this reason 
Ave are justly surprised when we meet with peo^Dle who seem to be proof 
against it, and who, for example, introduce into their pharynx large, solid, and 
stiff objects like sword blades, and cause these to jienetrate to a depth that 
appears incredible. It is experiments of this kind that constitute the tricks of 
sword swallowers. 

These experiments are nearly always the same. The individual comes out 
dressed in a brilliant costume. At one side of him there are flags of different 
nationalities surrounding a panoply of sabers, swords, and yatagans, and at 
the other, a stack of guns provided with bayonets. Taking a flat saber, whose 
blade and hilt have been cut out of the same sheet of metal, the blade being 
from fifty-live to sixty centimeters in length, he introduces its extremity into 
liis throat, taps the hilt gently, and the blade at length entirely disappears. 
lie then repeats the experiment in swallowing the blade at a single gulp. Sub- 
sequently, after swallowing and disgorging two of these same swords, he 
causes one to penetrate up to its guard, a second not quite so far, a third a 
little less still, and a fourth up to about half its length, the hilts being then 
Arranged as shown in our third illustration (C). 


Pressing now on the hilts, he swallows the four blades at a gulji, and then 
he takes them out leisurely one by one. The effect is quite surprising. After 
swallowing several different swords and sabers, he takes an old musket armed 
with a triangular bayonet, and swallows the latter, the gun remaining vertical 
over his head. Finally he borrows a large saber from a dragoon who is present 
for the ])ur|iose, and causes two-thirds of it to disappear. As a trick, on being 

encored, the sword swallower 
borrows a cane from a j^erson 
in the audience, and swallows 
it almost entirely. 

A certain number of spec- 
tators usually think that the 
performer produces an illusion 
through the aid of some trick, 
and that it is impossible to 
swallow a sword blade. But 
this is a mistake, for sword 
swallowers who employ arti- 
fices are few in numl)er and 
their experiments but slightly 
varied, while the majority 
really do introduce into their 
i mouths and food passages the 
J| blades that they cause to dis- 
appear. They attain this re- 
I suit as follows: 
' The back parts of the 

mouth, despite their sensi- 
^ tiveness and their rebellion 
affainst contact with solid 

'UE * 

bodies, are capable of becom- 
ing so changed through habit 
that they gradually get used to abnormal contacts. This fact is taken 
advantage of in medicine. It daily happens that persons afflicted with dis- 
orders of the throat or stomach can no longer swallow or take nourishmeiit, 
and would die of exhaustion were they not fed artificially by means of the 
u.'sophageal tube. This latter is a vulcanized rubber tube which the patient 
swallows, after tiie maimer of swoi-d swallowers, and through the extremity 
of which milk or bouillon is introduced. But the patient, before being able 
to make daily use of this a])paratus, must serve a genuine a])prenticeship. 
The first introduction of the end of the tulje into tlio ])harynx is extremely 
j)ainful, the second is a little less so, and it is only after a large number of 
trials, more or less prolonged, that the })atieut succeeds in swallowing ten or 
twelve inches of the tubing Avithout a disagreeable sensation, 

I'he washing out of the stomach, ]torfoi'n)0(l by means of a long, flexible 



tube which the patient partially swallows, and with which he injects into ajid 
removes from his stomach a quantity of tepid water by raising the tube or let- 
ting it hang down to form a siphon, likewise necessitates an apprenticeship of 
some days; but the patient succeeds in accustoming his organs to contact witli 
the tube, and is finally able, after a short time, to swallow the latter with 
indifference, at least. 

With these sword swallowers it is absolutely the same; for with them it 
is only as a consequence of repeated trials that the pharynx becomes suflficiently 
accustomed to it to permit them to finally swallow objects as large and rigid as 
swords, sabers, canes, and even billiard cues. 

Swallowers of forks and spoons serve an analogous apprenticeship. As 
known, the talent of these consists in their ability to introduce into the throat 
a long spoon or fork while holding it suspended by its extremity between two 
fingers. This trick is extremely dangerous, since the oesophagus exerts a sort 
of suction on all bodies that are introduced into it. The spoon or fork is, 
then, strongly attracted, and if the individual cannot hold it, it will drop into 
his stomach, whence it can only be extracted by a very dangerous surgical 
operation — gastrotomy. It was accidents of this kind that made the "fork- 
man " and the '" knifeman " celebrated, and, more recently, the '"' spoonman " 
who died from the effects of the extraction from his stomach of a sirup spoon. 

All sword swallowers do not proceed in the same way. Some swallow the 
blade directly, without any intermediate apparatus; but in this case, tlieir 
sabers are provided at the extremity, near the point, with a small bayonet- 
shaped apjiendage over which they slip a gutta-iiercha tip without the sjiecta- 
tors perceiving it (F and G). Others do not even take such a precaution, but 
swallow the saber or sword just as it is. 

This is the mode of procedure of an old zouave, especially, who has become 
a poor juggler, and who, in his experiments, allows tlie spectators to touch, 
below his sternum, the projection that the point of the saber in his stomach 
makes on his skin. 

But the majority of sword swallowers who exhibit upon the stage employ a 
guiding tube which they have previously swallowed, so that the experiments 
they are enabled to perform become less dangerous and can be varied more. 
This tube, which is from forty-five to fifty centimeters long, is made of very 
thin metal. Its width is twenty-five millimeters, and its thickness fifteen (B). 
These dimensions i)ermit of the easy introduction of flat-bladed sabers, among 
other things, and of the performance of the four-sabers experiment, and of the 
introduction of sabers and swords of all kinds. 

To explain the latter from a physiological standjioint, the saber swallowed 
by the performer enters the mouth and ])harynx first, then the oesophagus, 
traverses the cardiac opening of the stomach, and enters the latter as far as 
the antrum of the pylorus — the small cul-de-sac of the stomach. In their 
normal state these organs are not in a straight line, but are placed so by the 
passage of the sword. In the first jdace, the head is thrown back so that the 
mouth is in the direction of the oesophagus, the curves of which disappear or 


become less; the angle that the cesophagns makes with the stomach becomes 
null; and, finally, the last-named organ distends in a vertical direction and 
its internal curve disappears, thus permitting the blade to traverse the stomach 
through its greater diameter; that is to say, to reach the small cul-de-sac. It 
should be understood that before such a result can be attained tlie stomach 
must have been emptied through fasting on the part of the operator. 

The depth of fifty-five to sixty centimeters to which these men cause their 
instruments to penetrate, and which seems extraordinary to spectators, is 

explained by the dimensions 
of the organs traversed. Such 
lengths may be divided thus: 

Mouth and pharynx, 10 to 
13; oesophagus, 25 to 28; dis- 
tended stomach, 20 to '2'2 — 55 
to G2 centimeters. 

According to the stature 
of the individual, a length of 
organs of from 55 to 62 centi- 
meters may give passage to 
swallow^ed swords without in- 

Sword swallowing exhibit- 
ors have rendered important 
services to medicine. It was 
due to one of them — a swal- 
lower of both swords and peb- 
bles — that, in 1777, a Scotch 
l)hysician, Stevens, was enabled 
to make the first studies upon 
tlie gastric juice of hunum be- 
ings. In order to do this, he 
caused this individual to 
swallow small metallic tubes 
pierced with holes and filled 
with meat according toEeaumur's method, and got him to disgorge them again 
after a certain length of time. It was also sword swallowers who showed 
l>hysicians to what extent the pharynx could become habituated to contact; and 
from this resulted the invention of the Foucher tube, the (esophageal tube, 
the washing out of the stomach, and the illumination of the latter organ by the 
electric light. 

It sometimes happens tliat sword swallowers who exhibit in public squares 
and at street corners are, at the same time, swallowers of pebbles, like him 
whose talents were utilized by Stevens; that is to say, they have the faculty of 
swallowing pebbles of various sizes, sometimes even stones larger than a hen's 
egg, and that, too, to the number of four, five, or six, sometimes more, and of 



afterward disgorging them one by one through a simple contraction of the 
stomach. Here Ave have a new example of the modification of sensitiveness 
and function that an individual may secure in his organs by determination and 
constant practice. 

In conclusion, let us say a word in regard to the tricks that produce the 
illusion of swallowed swords or sabers. One of these, which deceives only at 
a certain distance, consists in plungitig the saber into a tube that descends along 
the neck and chest, under the garments, and the opening of which, placed near 
the mouth, is hidden by means of a false beard. Another and much more 
ingenious one, which has been employed in several enchantment scenes, is that 
of the sword whose blade enters its hilt, and which is due to ^l. A'oisin, the skill- 
ful manufacturer of physical apparatus. In its ordinary state this sword has a 
stiff blade, eighty centimeters in length, Avhich, when looked at from a dis- 
tance of a few meters, presents no peculiarity (see D in our engraving); but 
when the exhibitor plunges it into his mouth, the spectator sees it descend by 
degrees, and finally so nearly disappear that but a few centimeters of the blade 
protrude. In realit}', the blade has entered into the hilt, for it possesses a 
solid tip that enters the middle part, which is hollow, and these two parts 
enter into the one that forms the base of the sword. The blade is thus reduced 
to about twenty-five centimeters, a half of which length enters the hilt. 
There then remain but a few centimeters outside the exhibitor's mouth, so that 
he seems to have swallowed the sword see (G and E). This is a very neat trick. 


Of all the daring tricks that have been introduced in the circus, none have 
caused more comment than the one iu which a person, generally a lady, walks 
with bare feet up a ladder of sharp swords, treading directly on the sharp edges 
without any injury to the feet. 

It is amusing to a person who is acquainted M'ith the secret to hear the 
many explanations of " how it is done " offered by the spectators, yet none of 
them ever come near guessing the truth. This secret has been so jealously and 
successfully guarded that very few, even among the best informed experts, 
know how it is performed. 

From the illustration it will be seen how the swords are arranged in a rack 
with the cutting edges on top. The rack is usually about seven feet high, and 
eight swords are used. One of the most necessary points in the preparation for 
the trick is that the rack should stand firm, and the swords fit snug and tight 
in the slots made to receive them. 

Usually the inspectors are invited to examine the rack as well as the swords, 
and paper is cut with the swords to show that they are really sharp. The 
secret is not in the swords or rack, but in the preparation of the performer's 
feet. In a pint of water as much alum is dissolved as the water will readily 
take up. To the alum water is added as much zinc sulphate, thoroughly 
dissolved, as will lie on a silver dime. 


A few minutes before doing the act the performer bathes the feet in this 
solution and allows them to dry without wiping. Just before leaving the 
dressing-room the feet are dipped for a moment in as cold water as can be 
secured, and at once wiped dry without rubbing. 

By placing the feet squarely on the swords there is no danger, but great 
care must be used not to allow the foot to slide or slip on the sword, or the 
result would be a very bad accident. 



'On leaving the circus in which one has seen the above act, visitors are almost 
sure to see before the ever-present side show a large painting on which is the 
representation of a Mexican dancing with bare feet in a shallow box filled with 
broken glass. 

If you are of an inquisitive nature, and have seen a lady walk with bare feet 
up a ladder of sharp swords, you enter the side show to see this new wonder. 

On a raised platform is found a box about four feet long, three feet wide, 
and six inches deep, the bottom of which is covered with broken glass. In a 
few moments a man dressed in the Mexican costume ai)pears on the platform and 
proceeds to break a few old bottles and throw the broken glass in the box, then 
removes his shoes, shows his feet to be free from any covering, steps in the box, 



and dances among the glast,. After lie has finished dancing he shows bis feet 
to be nuinjured, and retires. The trick is performed in the following manner: 
Secure a number of thick glass bottles, break them in rather small pieces 
and file or grind all the sharp edges round. This stock of glass you place in the 
center of a box made according to above measurement. Now soak your feet in 


strong alum water and wipe dry, and give them a tluirough rubbing with pul- 
verized rosin. Dust the inside of your shoes Mith rosin, ])ut them on. and go 
upon the platform. Take some old lamp chimneys and bottles, break tliem in 
bits, and throw this fresh broken glass in the Ixix. around the edges and in the 
corners, not in the center. Remove your shoes, step in the center of the box, 
among the prepared glass, and do your dancing. Avoid the sides or corners of 
the box, where you have thrown the glass, and you run no risk of cutting your 
feet, especially if you use plenty of rosin. The amateur hardly needs to be 
informed that such tricks should be left entirely to professionals. 



Ventriloquists may, accordiug to their s^^ecialties, be divided into various 
categories. Some devote their talent to the imitation of the cries of animals, 
the songs of birds, the noise of tools, etc.; others imitate the sound of musical 
instruments; some mock tlie noise produced by a crowd, a regiment, or a pro- 
cession; while others, again, make dolls or dummies speak. 

Certain ventriloquists imitate the sound of musical instruments^ from tbat 
of the violin up to tbat of brass instruments with the most piercing notes. 
Others excel in imitating the noise of the plane, saw, etc. 

Certain ventriloquists, Avhile hidden by a screen simply, have the faculty of 
making their audience believe that several persons, or even a crowd, are in the 

At Egyptian Hall, London, a magician recently made his appearance upon 
'the stage, carrying a doll, with which he held a somewhat uncoutli conversa- 
tion. The lips of the doll were observed to move, and the illusion was com- 
plete, when all at once the doll's head was strangely transformed. The 
magician had just opened his hand, showing that it was tlie latter alone that — 
inclosed in a white glove upon which were a few colored marks — formed the 
doll's head. 

In our engraving may be seen two methods of arranging the fingers for 
forming a doll's head with the hand. The illusion is produced by making a 
few simple lines with charcoal, and wrapping a handkerchief or napkin 
around the hand; then, if one has a little aptness for ventriloquism, he may 
hold a conversation with the head. 

In our time, most ventriloquists who exhibit in public considerably facili- 
tate the illusion that they desire to produce by using large articulated dum- 
mies, which tlipy make speak and sing, and talk to one another — each in a 
different voice. Those figures are so constructed that the ventriloquist's hands 
can move theii' arms and legs, turn their heads to the right or left, give their 
siioulders a slirug. open or close their eyes, and move their lower jaws in such a 
way that their mouths seem to utter tlie words that tlie spectator hears. 

We may s;i,v, in a general way, th;it these ventrilofjuists, tiianks to the use 
of tlioir dummies, succeed in ])ro(liicing so coiii|ilete an ilhisioii tliat peo])le 
are frequfsntly persuaded tliat the voice heard actually conies from the mouth 



(if the liuiirc, uud that it does not proceed from the ventriloquist standing 
near tlic latter, but from a confederate liidden somewhere about, whose voice 
is heard through the intermedium of a speaking-tube. 

There is one trick that always tends to confirm the spectator's illusion, and 
that is this: in the little prefatory speech that tlie ventriloquist makes, he 
gives out that he is a foreigner, and does not s])eak the language of his audi- 


ence well; in fact, he expresses himself with difficulty and with a strong accent. 
His dummies, on the contrar}-, answer in very good French or English, as the 
ease may be; and when the anditors hear them, they are led to believe that 
ventriloquism counts for nothing in their answers or conversation. 

Explanation of Ventriloquism. — The art of ventriloquism is primarily 
based upon an acoustic phenomenon — the difficulty that the ear experiences in 
determining the exact point whence comes the sound that it hears. That there 
is such an incertitude as to the direction of sounds is easily verified, and the 
following are a few cases in proof of it. Mr. Stuart Cumberland, a mind 


reader, Avbo exhibited at Paris a few years ago, performed a little experiment in 
the drawing-room, after his " second-sigjit " seances, which nsually resulted 
in surprising and amusing his auditors. In this experiment, a willingly dis- 
posed person, being seated in the middle of the room, allowed his eyes to be 
bandaged. Then Mr. Cumberland took a five-franc piece and made it jingle 
by striking it Avitli a hard object, say a key or another coin. The person sub- 
mitted to the experiment then had to tell the direction from whence the sound 
emanated, and to give the distance at which it seemed to liim to have been 
made. In almost all cases the individual guessed a direction and distance 
very different from the real one, and the error, which was ofttimes great, nat- 
urally provoked great hilarity from the spectators. Moreover, Mr. Cumber- 
land, bv varying the position of his hand in such a way that the latter formed 
a screen between the coin and the ear of the blindfolded person, caused the 
latter's perception as to the direction of the sound to vary, although, as a 
matter of fact, the exiDcrimenter had not budged from his first position. 

At a soiree, we have seen a member of the Institute, who had cheerfully 
submitted himself to the ex2)eriment, extremely surpiised, when his bandage 
was removed, at the gross errors in auditory i)ercej)tion that he had just com- 
mitted. The illusion that it is thus possible to produce by varying the posi- 
tions of the hand in which a coin is jingled is, in the main, analogous to that 
obtained through ventriloquism. Another example: If several persons be 
standing in the same line, at a few feet from a spectator, and one of them 
emits a prolonged sound — a vowel, for example, say a a a — that requires no 
motion of the lips, the spectator will be unable to determine from which of 
the persons the sound proceeds; or if, moreover, he tries to point the one out, 
he Avill be almost certain to commit an error, the person designated by. him 
being the third or fourth to the right or left of the one Avho actually produced 
the sound. 

In the choruses of operas, an endeavor is made to have an agreeable aspect in 
addition to vocal qualities; and, as a beautiful voice is not always accompanied 
Avith a pretty face, it often happens that in the first row of a chorus they will 
place pretty supernumeraries, who, although not obliged to sing, open their 
mouths and make believe pronounce words, while in reality the singing is 
being done only by their companions in the rear. This fraud is very rarely 
detected by the audience. 

If a man standing near a child should, without moving his lips, S2:ieak with 
a squeaking voice, while the child was making believe pronounce words, it 
might easily be believed that the words heard were being spoken by the child. 
It is possible to teach a dog to ojien his mouth and follow the motions of his 
master's hand; and if the master be any sort of a ventriloquist, he can easily 
make believe that he has an animal endowed with speech. 

The ventriloquist who, standing near his dummies, succeeds in keeping 
his facial muscles absolutely immovable, while his figures become animate and 
move their lips and seem to speak, produces such an illusion among the specta- 
tors by virtue of the acoustic principle that Ave have just noted; that is, the 







difficulty that the ear experiences in determining tlie precise point whence 
emanates the sound tiiat it hears. 

It is to be remarked that the chief difficulty in the art of ventriloquism is 
to keep the couutenauce immovable, and to speak without causing any of the 
facial muscles to act. 

The ventriloquist who talks with a dummy that is interrogating him, 
addresses his questions in an ordinary voice, articulates distinctly, and plainly 
moves his lips; but when 
fhe dummy answers, the 
ventriloquist's face no long- 
er contracts, and his lips 
scarcely part except to 
smile. Tlie facial immo- 
bility preserved by him 
while he is really speak- 
ing, then, can be explained 
by recalling a few princi- 
ples of grammar, which 
are merely applications of 
the physiology of the voice. 

Articulate si^eech, which 
separates the language of 
man from that of the lower 
animals, is divided, as gram- 
mar teaches, into sounds 
and articulations. The 
sounds or vowels are made 
up of all the continuous 
and uniform noises that 
the vocal organs can emit. Thus a, e, i, o, and ti are vowels, because 
they may be infinitely prolonged ; a a a a a a, for example. There are a 
greater number of vowels than is usually admitted in writing; it is possible, 
in fact, to modify them to infinity, so to speak, by a slightly more open or 
more closed sound. They may be classified in the form of gamuts, each 
having a typical vowel, the entire corresponding series of which is but the 
result of a more and more pronounced contraction of the lips, without the 
tongue and other vocal organs having to undergo the slightest modification. 

These type-vowels and their descending gamuts are shown in Fig. 2. 

If, in pronouncing each of these vowels, we draw the base of the tongue 
toward the back of the throat, without changing the position of the lips or 
tongue, we shall obtain the nasal sound thereof. The chief of such sounds 
are: a7i, nasal sound of a; 

on, nasal sound of o ; 

then, en, in, nasal sound of e ; 

eiin, un, nasal sound of eu. 





The vowels i and u have no nasal sounds, because of the back position 
that the base of the tongue naturall}' occupies in pronouncing them, and 
which is but slightly modified when we endeavor to give tiiem a nasal sound. 

"What precedes may be called the theory of tiie vowels. From the stand- 
point of ventriloquism, we must remark that, in order to pronounce the vowels, 
no motion of the lips is necessary; but it w^ill suffice to allow the latter to 
remain slightly parted in order to give passage to the sound — this being gener- 
ally done by the ventriloquist through the aid of a smile, that seems to be pro- 
voked by the interest that lie takes in the talk of his dummies. 

All the modifications in the organs necessary for passing from one vowel to 
another, as in the diphthongs oa and ae, or when they suppress certain inter- 
mediate articulations, are easily obtained by tlie ventriloquist by the aid of the 
tongue and the interior organs of the mouth, without causing the lips and 
facial muscles to undergo the slightest motion or the least contraction; or, in 
other words, without any visible sign exhibiting itself to the eyes of the spec- 
tators. The pronunciation of the vowels, then, constitutes no difficulty for 
the ventriloquist. The same is not the case with the articulations or conso- 
nants, the pronunciation of some of which is a difficulty that the ventriloquist 
can overcome only by virtue of practice and skill, or again by an approximate 
pronunciation — the ai'ticulation difficult to })ronounce Avithout moving the 
facial muscles being replaced by another which gives nearly the same sound, 
but which is obtained with the internal vocal organs of the mouth. 

The consonants may be classed by categories, according to the vocal organs 
employed for pronouncing them. In each category they are divided into strong 
and weak, and, as regards ventriloquism, they comprise two series. A classifi- 
cation of them is given in Fig. 3. 

Upon examining this table, it Avill be seen that, in the entire first series of 
these consonants, the tongue, acting upon the jiharynx, bearing against the 
teeth, or taking different shapes, can act and articulate without the aid of the 
lips, and without the necessity of the facial muscles contracting. The ven- 
triloquist, then, will be able to pronounce any word in which none but these 
vowels and consonants enter, without moving his facial muscles. 

The same is not the case with the consonan'ts of the second series, that is 
to say, with the five labials,/, r, 7?, h, m. The ventriloquist's art consists in 
pronouncing these without moving the lips or facial muscles. With a little 
practice it is easy to reach such a result with /" and v, which may be pro- 
nounced by causing only the interior muscles of the lips to act; p and h, and 
m especially, present a greater difficulty, and we may say that, in most cases, 
ventriloquists who wish to keep their lips perfectly motionless pronounce none 
of these three constmants distinctly, but usually substitute for them a sound 
bordering on that of the letter n. 

It is partly for this reason that veiitriloquists succeed much better in imi- 
tating the language of children, or that of persons of slight education. 

So, upon the Avhole, the illusion produced by ventriloquists is the result, 
primarily, of an acoustic phenomenon, the uncertainty of the sound's direc- 

VLWTiiJLoguisJi A^n animated puppets. 



Strong. Weak. 




Gutturals e 

Palatal linguals I 

Dental Unguals r 

Dentals t 

Palatal dentals n 

Dental sibiilants s 

Guttural sibiilants ch 


tion, and, secondarily, of a habit acquired of speaking without moving the 
facial muscles. 

Those ventriloquists who, without accessories, have tiie power of throwing 
their voices almost anywhere, succeed therein by utilizing the same principle of 
acoustics that we liave exphiined aljove. As for the exact point whence the 
sound proceeds, tlie ventriloquist usually takes care to show that by an expres- 
sive motion and by looking in that direction, and by designating it, too, with 
his finger, while his face expresses great fear, interest, or surprise. So the 
spectator easily persuades 
himself that the sound does 
really come from the exact 
spot that is thus pointed out 
to him in a seemingly unin- 
tentional manner. 

The w^ords are often pro- 
nounced very indistinctly by 
the mysterious voice, but 
the ventriloquist takes care, 
as a general thing, to render 
them intelligible by repeat- 
ing them in his ordinary 
voice, by accenting them, 
and by commenting upon 
them. He thus persuades his 
auditors that these are the 
very words that they heard. 

In order to produce a muffled sound that seems to come from afar or from 
an inclosed place, the ventriloquist arranges his tongue in such a way that its 
base, upon bearing against the soft palate, shall form a sort of diaphragm that 
allows but very little of the voice to pass. If , then, the ventriloquist articu- 
lates his words with a strong guttural voice, the sound will appear to come 
from the earth, from a grotto or cavern, or from a box, or cask, or closet. If, 
oh the contrary, the tongue being in the same position, the ventriloquist speaks 
with a sharp voice, he will produce the illusion of a voice coming from the 
ceiling, or from some high place, such as the toji of a tree or the roof of a 
neighboring house. But, in both cases, in order to effect the emission of this 
muffled, somewhat indistinct, voice, tlie ventriloquist keeps his lungs distended, 
and emits as little breath as possible in pronouncing. 

Richerand, the celebrated physiologist, who had an ojiportunity of examin- 
ing the ventriloquist Fitz-James, says: "His entire meclianism consists in a 
slow and graduated expiration, which is, after a manner, protracted, and which 
is always preceded by a strong inspiration, by means of which he introduces 
into his lungs a great volume of air, which he carefully husbands." 

As for the modifications to be introduced into the usual position of the organs 
in order to obtain the voices of aged people or children, hoarse or nasal voices. 


Strong. Weak. 

Sibillant labials / v 

Siu) pie labials p b 

Aspirated labials m 



the cries of animals, sounds of musical instruments, the noises of tools, and so 
forth, they are easily effected, owing to the mobility, perfection, and resources 
of such organs; and it is by practice and feeling his way that the ventriloquist 
conies to know them and repeat them, so as to obtain the voice that he desires, 
with certainty. Moreover, in order to get a good idea of the modifications that 
may be introduced in the voice by regulating the breathing, the opening of 
the pharynx, and the position and curvature of the tongue, it is only necessary 
to devote ourselves to this exercise for a few minutes, when the processes used 
by ventriloquists, and the illusions that it is possible for them to produce, will 
be easily understood. Perhaps, indeed, such an exercise will reveal to the 
experimenter that he has an aptness for ventriloquism that he was far from 


Puppets have been in use since antiquity, and when skillfully constructed 
and operated the effect is very amusing. The French painter M. G. Bertrand 
devised some very ingenious puppets, which he calls "animated models," 
which he exhibited for a long time in Paris. When the characters make their 
appearance and walk and approach each other, they appear to be real. One 
of the most charming of the puppets was a violoncellist who bows, rubs resin 
on his bow, and plays a march. After the player has finished, he bows and 
repeats the piece for an encore. M. Bertrand's dansenses are no less wonderful. 
Fig. 3 shows one of them while she is executing a difficult scene. The little 
puppets are about half life size, being twenty-two inches in height. They 
are suspended from the upper part of the theater by very fine wires fixed to a 
rubber spring. Left to itself the puppet is suspended about three feet from 




the floor of the stage. It is from beueatli that the operator holds it Ity means 
of wires attacheil to its feet, wliich keep it on the floor and make it walk, jump. 

FKi. ;.'. -I.A J;EN(X)NTKK (SKCOXD Sl'KNK). 

or dance. Lateral wires are attached to the hands, and are manipulated from 
the side scenes. Each figure is built up on a skillfully wrought skeleton. 

Plfi. :S.— ArTO.MATK' UAXSEl'SE. 

The fifth figure shows that the fundamental osseous framework is made of 
hard wood, and the articulations formed of steel springs. When this wooden 


skeleton is made to dance upon the stage, it has the attitude of an animated 
being; all of the articulations operate of themselves, with perfect BUi)pleness. 

KUi. 4. rilK lUILKT UF A DA.NShtSK. 

The covering of tow and dress materials give the external human form. Our 
last engraving shows the clown, who, at the rising of the curtain, recites the 

I'Ki. 5.— TUM MlNui; TUK CLO\V^ AMD Ulb SKEI-KTo;,. 

prologue. Tie is capable of showing his own skeleton to the spectators and of 
saying, " 'i'his is the way I am made. Look at my framework! " 


By Henry Ridgelt Evaxs. 

Paris is the home of the fantaisisfce. These rare exotics flourish in the 
genial atmosphere of the great French capital, and cater to the most critical, as 
well as the most appreciative, public in the world. Xo matter how trivial your 
profession may he, if you are an artist in your particular line, you may he 
sure of an admiring audience. To-day you are a performer in the cafes; 
to-morrow yon tread the boards of some minor theater, and the journals duly 
chronicle your debut, sometimes with as much elaborateness as they would 
'"write up" that of a new singer at the Grand Opera. Two of the greatest 
entertainers in Paris to-day are Yvette Guilbert, chanteuse eccentrique, and 
M. Felicien Trewey — fantaisiste, mimic, shadowgraph ist, and juggler. It 
is M. Trewey and his wonderful art I wish to introduce to the American reader. 
The clever Frenchman is one of the best sleight-of-hand artists in France, but 
his lasting fame has been made through his ombromanie, or shadowgraphy, the 
art of casting silhouettes with his hands, on an illuminated screen. These 
silhouettes are projected Avith marvelous dexterity of manipulation. 

The idea of projecting the shadows of different objects (among others the 
hands) upon a plane surface is very ancient, and it would be idle to attempt to 
assign a date to tlie creation of these animals and chissic figures, such as the 
rabbit, swan, negro, etc., that have served to amuse children in the evening 
since time immemorial. 

Within a few years these rude figures have been improved, and the play of 
shadows has now become a true art instead of a simple diversion. The Italian 
painter Campi was one of the first who thought of adding new t\'pes to the 
collection of figures capable of being made with the shadow of the hands. He 
devised amusing forms of animals that delighted the school-children before 
whom he loved to exhibit them. ITis imitator, Frizze, imported the nascent 
art into Belgium, and it was in tliis latter country that Ti-ewey got his knowl- 
edge of it. 

Trewey was not long in discovering that ombromanie was capable of 
improvement, and, after patient exercise of his finger.^? to render them supple, 
he succeeded in producing new silhouettes, which ai-e. oiidi in its kijid. little 



chisel that no flaw is visible in the cut, so equal everywhere is the imprint of 
the tool — these and all superb workmen, all artists wlio shape white-hot iron 
with the hammer, who chisel the precious metals, who sculpture marble and 
stone, owe the exact precision in the force and accuracy of the blows that they 
give with the hammer to the suppleness of the first joint of the thumb. 

A second characteristic of skillfulness is indicated by the faculty of revers- 
ing the metacarpal phalanges of tlie fingers, so that when the hand is extended 
it is convex. On the greater or less flexibility of all the joints, either at the 
base or extremity of the fingers, depend the dexterity and skillfulness dis- 
played in work executed with tlie file, plane, or lathe. 

The two characteristics 
mentioned above — the 
curved thumb and the pe- 
culiar suppleness of the 
fingers — are in most cases 
united in the same person. 
The more important of these 
is the first. 

Trewey's hand, repro- 
duced by molding, figures 
in several English museums. 
It possesses the faculty of 
reversal of the phalanges to 
the highest degree, and the 
thumb, which is of won- 
derful suppleness, renders 
Trewey, as we shall see, the 
greatest service in the for- 
mation of his shadows. Let 
me add that his fingers, 
which are long and slender, 
differ very percej)tibly in 
length, the middle finger, 
for example, exceeding the 
ring finger by nearly an inch. 

In addition to the i^rofiles of men and animals, the artist, by means of a few 
accessories, exhibits to us living persons j)laying amusing pantomimes. Here, 
for example (Fig. 2), we have a fisherman. A piece of cardboard, properly 
shaped and held between two fingers, forms the hat; the boat is apiece of 
wood held in one of the artist's hands; a juetallic ring holds the fish-pole 
against the thumb of the other hand, and ib is opposite tliis latter, bent as 
shown in the figure, that we observe all the emotions of the fortunate fisherman, 
who, phlegmatic at first, and livening uj) when the fish bites, finally is tri- 
umphant when he has it at the end of his line. It is necessary to have wit- 
nessed all these little scenes in order to understand how, liy means of his 



fingers alone, the artist can evoke the laughter and applause of hundreds of 
spectators. Here, now (Fig. 3), we have a scene with two persons. It is a 
fight between a janitress and one of her tenants. As may be seen, the acces- 
sories are here very simple again. 

To make the shadows sharp, the following things are indispensable: The 
source of light must be a single lamp inclosed in a projecting apparatus, throw- 
ing very divergent rays. The lens must consequently be of very short focus. 
The electric light or oxyhydrogeu lamp necessary in a theater may be replaced 
at the amateur's house by a lamp, or, better, by a wax candle, or, indeed, even 
by a common candle that gives very sharp shadows. The mirrors in the room 

where the exhibition is given 
must be veiled in order to 
prevent reflections, and all 
brilliant objects must be re- 
moved. When the oxyhy- 
drogen lamp is used, the 
screen is placed ten feet away 
from the light, and the art- 
ist's hands at three feet from 
the same, and consequently 
at seven from the screen. 
But it will be understood 
that there can be no absolute 
rule about this, all depend- 
ing upon the scale of the fig- 
ures. It suffices to recall the 
fact that the nearer theliand 
is brought to the light, the 
more the shadow enlarges 
and loses its intensity, while 
on bringing the hand nearer 
the screen, the shadow be- 
comes sharper, but smaller 
and smaller. Fig. 4 shows 
Trewey exhibiting the scene 
of the preacher in the pulpit. The canopy is formed by the arm and the first 
phalanges of the fingers bent at right angles, while a block of wood affixed 
to the arm near the wrist forms the pulpit. In order that the preacher may 
appear smaller than the pulpit, he must necessarily be nearer the screen, and 
this explains the distance apart of the artist's arms in the engraving, the 
screen being situated in front of the arm that forms the preacher. The neces- 
sary distances, however, are best determined by experiment. 

Trewey's appearance on the stage is very prepossessing. He is a man of 
commanding physique, with a jovial countenance, indicative of the comedian. 
He always appears in full court costume — dress coat, silk stockings, and pumps. 



On his first appearance on the stage he wears a long Spanish cloak, which he 
removes before beginning his entertainment of juggling and sleight-of-hand. 
He is the past grand master of balancing feats, the startling nature of which 
causes one to hold his breath with dismay at such boldness and audacitv. His 
dexterity in throwing cards is really extraordinary. I have seen him project 
these little oblongs of glazed cardboard from the stage of the Alhambra, 
London (the largest hall in Europe) to the farthest part of the top gallerv. 
He also jiossesses great skill \\\ the unique art of writing backwards any word 
or sentence chosen by the audience, and he is a lightning sketch artist of no 
mean ability. 

"Tabarin," or twenty-live heads under one hat, is a performance named 
after the inventor, a certain M. Tabarin, juggler, mountebank, and quack-salver, 
who used to frequent the quays of Paris during the early part of the eighteenth 
century. With the brim of an old felt sombrero, Trewey is able, by dexterous 
manipulation, to construct every variety of headgear, from the shovel hat of a 
snuffy-nosed French abhe to the headdress of a Xorman j^easant girl, to say 
nothing of the famous chapecm affected by the great Napoleon. It is not these 
varieties of headgear that astonish the audience, but Trewey's facial inter- 
pretations of the different types of character assumed. His mobile features are 
an international portrait gallery, and we see represented in the "Tabarin" 
Irishmen, Scotchmen, Englishmen, Chinamen, and other nationalities. It 
is a facial pantomime of exceeding skill. 

The Paris F'ujdro has described the work of this fantaisiste as " Treweyism," 
and Illustration and I.a Nature never fail to send their staff artists behind the 
scenes to make sketches of tiie ombromanist's latest creations. Robert-IIoudiu, 
in his memoirs, says, the excellence of an artist's work must never flag, but 
continue to excite and stimulate public curiosity. Trewey realizes this to per- 
fection. He has something unique and novel from week to week to present for 
the delectation of his audiences. He is the most tireless experimenter I have 
ever met on any stage, and gets up early and goes to bed late to think out new 
problems in the art amusunte. I first became acquainted M'ith this versatile 
artist in the summer of 1893, when he was playing a phenomenally long 
engagement in the music halls of London, and heard from his own lips the 
story of his early struggles and hardships before attaining eminence in his 
chosen profession. I quote the following, contributed by me to the pages of 
Mahatma, a very clever little i)eriodical devoted to sleight-of-hand, jugglery, 
and natural magic : 

"Trewey was born in Angoulunie nearly forty-five years ago. His father 
was a machinist employed at one of the pajier mills of the city, and desired 
the young Trewey ti) become engineer in the manufactory. An unexpected 
incident diverted Trewey 's mind from mechanics to juggler}'. He was taken 
one day to the circus at Marseilles, and saw the performance of a conjurer. He 
was so delighted with the entertainment of the mountebank that he forthwith 
determined to become a professional prestidigitateur. Finding that he could 
not enlist the interest of his son in machinery, Trewey j>ere sent him to a 


Jesuit seminary at Marseillec to study for the priesthood. One day, after he 
had completed three years at the seminary, he returned liome for a short 
holiday, and refused to return, whereupon his father sent him to work daily at 
the factory. During his sojourn at the scliool, Trewey exhibited his skill as 
an amateur juggler, and took part in tlie dramatic exhibitions given by the 
students from time to time. He kept up his practice while at work at the 
factory, and then one fine summer's day, at the age of fifteen, ran away from 
home with a professional acrobat not much older than himself. The two 
boys gave performances in the cafes of the neighboring towns, and eventually 
Trewey succeeded in getting an engagement in one of the Marseilles music 



halls at the munificent salary of a franc a day. He had to give his own jug- 
gling entertainment several times a day, and appear in a pantomimic perform- 
ance every night. In this same company was Plessis, afterwards one of the 
greatest of the French comedians. Speaking of this period of his interesting 
career, Tl-ewey said to me: ' It was the custom in French places of amusement, 
Avhen I was a young and struggling entertainer, for the spectators to throw 
money on the stage to a successfnl actor. I carefully saved the coin obtained 
in this M'ay until I was able to purchase two grand new costumes. These cos- 
tumes and the popularity acquired enabled me to ol)tanv an engagement at the 
Alcazar, tlit; ]»riticipal i)lace of amusoment in ]\Iai'seillos. 

Otlier engagements olTci'cd theninclvcs in ((uick succession after that, and 
Ibecame a favorite performci' in all the principal towns in the south of France, 
where I remained foi- three or foui- years. Aftei- a while I returned to the 
strolling branch of the profession. :iiiil started anew as the j)roprietor of a 
trav'-iliiig pantominK! and vaudeville comi)any. 

HIT A DO wan Amy. 18 1 

"'I travek'il fnuii one little town to aiioLlier. ]>l;iyiiig various rolex 
including Pierrot and ('ass;iii(li'c, the clown and- j)antaiot)n ol' Frencli panto- 
mime; danced in the CUnhirJir, a grotesque quadrille; and took part in a 
comedy, in addition to giving my ommi entertainment. It -was a bare living only 
that was gained in this manner lor two years, after which an offer of an engage- 
ment came to me from Bordeaux. Here I was most successful, and made a hit 
with a number of new feats of balancing Avith bottles, etc., with which I had 
been busy for a long time iierfecting myself. It was at this jieriod I invented, 
the ombromanie. An offer quickly came for an engagement at the Concert dea 
Ambassadenrs, in Paris, and my success was complete. I stayed in Paris nine 
years, and since then traveled all over Europe — in Spain, Germany, Belgium, 
Austria, Pussia, Great Britain, and, as you know, ' introduced shadowgraphy 
to the American public in ISOI}.' 

" Trewey's home in the Pue Iiochechouart, Paris, is an interesting place to 
visit; it is crowded with ap})aratus and all sorts of new inventions intended for 
use in his conjuring entertuinments. His scrap and memorandum books are 
unique in themselves and contain hundreds of sketches in water colors of jug- 
gling feats either performed by himself or by other artists. Under each 
drawing is a carefully written description of the particular act. 

'•'What are you going to do with all this material?' I once iusked him. 
' I may publish a book one of these days,' he replied, with a merry twinkle of 
the eye; ' who knows ? I've done worse things,' " 


M. Caran d'Ache, the cartoonist and illustrator, got up a few years ago, 
at the Tlieater d'Application, at Paris, a special representation, of Chinese 
shadows which were devised by him, and are so superior to anything that has 
previously been done in this line that he has been able to call them "French 
shadows," in order to distinguish them from similar i)roductions. 

M. d'Ache takes pleasui-e in representing the military scenes of the first 
republic and first empire. He projects ujion the screen an entire army, wherein 
we see the emperor with his stafl" at different distances amid the ranks. The 
defiling of the troops is astonishing, and one would think that he was present at 
a genuine review. A "Vision in the Steppes" is another series of pictures 
that represent the advent of the Kussian army. The shadows entitled the 
" Peturn from the Woods" form a }nasterpiece as a whole, and the figures are 
so skillfully cut that the celebrities of the day who are passing in the Avenue 
des Acacias can be recognized. Two amusing specimens of this part of the 
representation are given in Figs. 2 and 3. These reproductions are much 
reduced, the real height of the figures being about eighteen inches. 

Says a writer in La Nature, " We were not content to remain in the body 


of the theater to witness the sliadows, but requested M. d'Aohe to admit us to 
his side scenes for the sake of our readers, and to initiate us into the processes 
of actuating his figures; for, aside from llie artistic aspect, tliere is here a 
very interesting api^lication of jdiysics. 

'^ The silliouettes, after being composed and drawn, are cut out of sheet zinc, 
which gives them great rigidity. Tlie cutting is a very delicate operation and 
requires great accuracy. Some figures, sucIj as tliose of cavali'ymen, hussars, 


and dragoons of the grand army, have apertures in certain parts, and behind 
these is pasted coh)red transparent paper. In this way, the bhick shadows 
that move along the screen have certain ]iarts in color, such as the plumes of 
the helmets and the liorses' saddles. 

" A large number of the zinc silhouettes act through mechanism. At a 
grand review, to the order 'Carry arms,' all the guns are seen to rise in 
nnison. The silhouette is provided with a series of guns properly arranged 
and mounted npon a rod which is lowered or raised by the action of a lever. 

" l-'ig. 1 represents the back of M. d'Ache's theater. The screen being 
Itrilliatitly illuminated by an oxyhydrogen lamp, and the light in the body of 



the theater heing turned down, the silhouettes, in passing, project upon the 
screen a very strong shadow which the spectators perceive, but which is not 
visible from the side scenes. Each silhouette is taken from a large box by a 
man who places it in a groove at the bottom of the screen. Four or five oper- 
ators suffice to keep the shadows succeeding one another without interruption. 


During the Epopee we witness great combats, the capture of redoubts, and 
terrible cannonading. Nothing is more amusing than the method of pro- 
ducing the effects of these epic contests. The cannons are provided with little 
fuses that an operator fires, and, at the same moment, the big drum of the 
orchestra imitates the noise of the cannonading, and a rattle of large size 
simulates the sound of the discharge of musketry. As for the smoke that 
the spectators perceive ui)on the screen, that is produced by the cigarette of one 
of the operators, who projects it at the desired place. The light of the shells 
is obtained by means of a wad of gun cotton liglited and properly projected." 


Bv Hexry Riugely Evans. 

The most sphinx-like pi'oblem ever preseiiteil to the pul)lio for solution was 
the " second-siglit '^ mystery. As has been stated in the Introduction, the 
idea was an old oue, having originated with the Chevalier Pinetti, a conjurer 
of the eighteenth century. On this subject the " Encyclopsedia Britannica " 
says : 

" In 1783 Pinetti had an automatic figure about eighteen inches in height, 
named tlie Grand Saltan or AVise Little Turk, which answered questions as to 
cliosen cards and many other things by striking upon a bell, intelligence being 
communicated to a confederate by an ingenious ordering of the words, sylla- 
bles, or vowels in the questions put. The teaching of jVIesmer and feats of 
alleged clairvoyance suggested to Pinetti a more remarkable performance in 
1785, when Signora Pinetti, sitting blindfold in a front box of a theater, 
replied to questions and displayed her knowledge of articles in the possession 
of the audience." 

Robert-IIondin invented a "second-sight" system under the following cir- 

" My two children," he says, in his memoirs, "were 2:)laying one day in 
the drawing-room at a game they had invented for their own amusement. The 
younger had bandaged his elder brother's eyes, and made him guess the objects 
he touched, and when the latter happened to guess right, they changed places. 
This simple game suggested to me the most complicated idea that ever crossed 
my mind — 'second sight.' 

" On the 12th of February, 184G, I jorinted in the center of my bill the fol- 
lowing singular announcement: 

"/n this programme M. Robert- Jlotidin's son, wJio is (lifted with a iiiarvel- 
ous second sight, after his eyes have been covered with a thick bandage, will 
designate every object jjresented to ttim by tJie andience.'''' 

Houdin never revealed the secret of this remarkable trick, but plainly indi- 
cated ill his autobiogi'aphy that it was the result of an ingenious combination of 
questions that gave the clue to the supposed clairvoyant on the stage. One 
of the first to come forward with an expose was F. A. Gandon, who wrote a 
work entitled La Seconde vue devoilSe, Paris, 1849. Robert Heller saw 



Houdin give an exhibition of " second sight " in LoihIoii. it was the idea of 
people at the time that the oxiierimciit was the result of animal magnetism, 
but the acute Heller thought otherwise, and he went to work to ^wrfect a sys- 
tem that far exceeded any of his iiredeeessors in the art, adding certain subtle 
improvements that made the trick all but supernatural. 

Briefly stated, the effect is as follows: A lady is introduced to the audience 
as possessed of clairvoyant powers. She is blindfolded and seated on the stage. 
The magician, going down among the spectators, receives from them various 
articles which the supposed 
seeress accurately describes; 
for example, in the case of a 
coin, not only telling what the 
object is, but the country 
where it was coined, its de- 
nomination and date. In tbe 
case of a watch, she gives the 
metal, maker's name, wliat 
kind and how many jewels in 
the works, and, lastly, the 
time to a dot. And the same 
with other objects, no matter 
what they may be. Nothing- 
offered by a spectator seemed 
to baffle Houdin and Heller. 
Half-obliterated Komau, Gre- 
cian, and Oriental coins were 
described with wonderful ease 
and accuracy by the assistant 
on the stage; also secret so- 
ciety emblems and inscrip- 
tions thereon, numbers on 
bank-notes, surgical instru- 
ments, etc. 

At a performance in Bos- 
ton, described by Henry Her- 
mon in his work, "'Heller- 
ism," a coin Avas handed to Hellei 
his assistant to name the object. 

"A coin," she quickly replied. 
"Here, see if you can tell tlie name of the country, and all about it," he 
next inquired. 

Without a second's hesitation she answered, *' It is a large copper coin — a 
coin of Africa, I think. Yes, it is of Tripoli. The inscriptions on it are iu 
Arabic; one side reads, 'Coined at Tripoli;' the other side, 'Sultan of two 
lands, Sultan of two seas, Sultan by iuheritajice, and the Son of a Sultan.' " 


He fiflanced at it fur a moment and asked 


" Ven" well." sairl Heller. '' tbaf is eorreei. V>wi look, what is the date, 

" The date is 1-2-2-0, one thousand two hundred and twenty of the Hegira, 
or Mohammedan year, which corresponds to 1805 of the Christian era." 

Salvos of applause greeted the performers at the conclusion of the scene. 

Mr. Fred Hunt, Jr., who was Eobert Heller's assistant for many years, 
wrote the followifig expose, of the trick for the London Twie^, soon after 
Heller's death: 

'' In the years we were together. Heller was constantly enlarging and j^erfect- 
ing his system. He is now gone and has solved a greater mystery than that which 
puzzled so many thousands while he was on earth, and I believe tliat his sister, 
Haidee Heller, and myself are tlie only living persons in whom Robert Heller's 
second sight is vested. Heller had so simplified this system as to embrace every 
variety of article classified in sets; one question, with a word or two added, 
sufficing to elicit a correct answer for ten different articles. 

" The student must be first posted in a new al^jhabetical arrangement, with 
which he must familiarize himself as thoroughly as a boy in learning his 
primer. This is the most difficult part of the business, but when mastered 
thoroughly, it comes as easy as if the question were plainly propounded. 

" This alphabet is as follows: 

A is H 

J is L 



K is Pray 

Tis P 


Lis C 

U is Look 


- M is 

Vis Y 

E is F 

N is D 

W is R 



X is See this 

G is A 

Pis J 


II is I 

Q is W 

Z is Hurry. 

lis B 

Ris M 

Hurry up — repeat last letter. 

" For example, you want the initials or name in a ring. Say it is ' Anna.' 
By the alphabetical arrangement H stands for A, D for X. The explanation 
'Hurry up' always means a repetition of the last letter, and again H will 
give the answer when put as follows: 

'' ' Here is a name ? Do you sec it '? Hurry up. Have you got it ? ' 

"Attention is paid only to the first letter of every sentence, and it will be 
perceived that the name of Anna is spelled. 

"Again, take ' Gazette,' which is abbreviated in a phonographic manner in 
order to simplify the question. G is A, A is H, Z is ' Hurry ' (not ' Hurry 
up '), E is F, T is P. The question would be: 

"' Are you able to tell the name V Here it is. Hunw. Find the name. 
Please be quick.' 

" Here you have ' Gazet ' in sliort meter. The letters K, U, X, and Z 
being difficult wherewith to commcuco an interrogative sentence, the words 
'pray,' 'look,' 'see this,' and 'hurry,' are used, as will be seen in the table. 

MENTAL JLiatd. 187 

Care must be taken uot to begin a sentence with either of these woras unless 
applicable to the word to be spelled. For instance, if ' Xenia ' is required, X is 
' See this,' E is F, X is D, I is B, and A is H. Thus the question: 

" ' See this '? Find it quick. Do hurr\-. Be quick. How is it spelled ? ' 

"Again, for the initials U. S. you will say: 

" ' Look. Xow, then.' 

"U is 'Look,' audSisX. 

"If you want Kentucky named, thus the question: 

'•' ' Pray name the State. Quick.' 

" Pray is K, and Q is Y. 

" After the alphabet we have the numbers, which, it will be seen, are easily 
understood after a little practice. 


1 is Say or Speak. 7 is Please or Pray. 

2 is Be, Look, or Let. 8 is Are or Ain't. 

3 is Can or Can't. 9 is Xow. 

4 is Do or Don't. 10 is Tell. 

5 is Will or Won't, is Hurrv or Come, 

6 is What. 

' ' Well ' is to re2)eat the last figure, 

'Example: The number l,::i:)4 is required; attention must only bo paid to 
the first word of a sentence, thus: 

' ' Say the number. Look at it. Can you see it ? Do you know ? ' 

' Or say the number is 100: 

'' Tell me the number. Hurry! ' 

' A rather difficult numlter would be 1.111. The question would l)e put in 
this wise : 

' ' Say the number. Well ? Speak out. Say what it is,' 

' On a watch or greenback there are sometimes eight or nine numbers, 
which can be followed as easily as the above. 
" The table of colors is as follows: 


1 is White, 5 is Red. 

2 is Black, 6 is Green. 

3 is Blue. 7 is Yellow. 

4 is Brown. 8 is Gray. 

"The solution of the numbers, as I have explained, will furnish the key. 
For example, the article presented is green; the question will be: 

" ' W^hat is the color ? ' green being the sixth color in the list. 

" Blue is wanted, aud, as it stands third in the list, the word would be: 

" ' Can you tell the color ? ' 

" White is wanted, and. as it stands first in the list, the question is: 

"'Say the color.' 

"Understand that the words explaining the numbers, as given in the list, 
are applied to the articles enumerated in each of the subjoined tables. 















The Metals. 



The Setting. 






lie stone- 




" Take the metals, for instance. The metal presented is copper, which is 
fourth in the list. The question would be: 
" ' Do you know the metal ? ' 
"If steel, which is ninth in the list: 
" ' Now, what is the metal ? ' 
"Sex, countries, materials, fabrics, watches, are as follows: 

Of What. 
[This set to describe the sex, etc., of the pictures.] 

1. Lady. 

2. Gentleman. 

3. Bov. 

4. Girl. 

5. Child. 

1. America. 

^. England. 

3. France. 

4. Germany, 
o. Russia. 

1. Wood. 

2. Stone. 

3. Marble. 

4. Bronze. 
U. Ijava. 

1. .Silk. 

2. Wool. 

3. Cotton. 

4. Linen. 











'he Matektal. 


< . 




1 vory. 

'I'he Fabhic. 





Lace . 




77/6 makers name? 

Of what compauji's make ? 

[This is to tell the maker's name of watches.] 

1. American Watch Co. (J. Johnson. 

'Z. Waltham Watch Co. 

3. Elgin Watch Co. 

4. Dueber Watch Co. 

5. Tobias. 

7. Swiss. 

Miscellaneous articles are divided into nineteen sets, thus: 

First Set. 
What article is this? 

1. Handkerchief. 

2. Neckerchief. 

3. Bag. 

4. Glove. 

5. Purse. 

G. Basket. 

7. Beet. 

8. Comforter. 

9. Headdress. 
10. Fan. 

1. Watch. 

2. Bracelet. 

3. Guard. 

4. Chain. 

5. Breastpin. 

Secoxd Set. 
Wluit is this? 

G. Necklace. 

7. Ring. 

8. Kosary. 

9. Cross. 
10. Charm. 

1. Hat. 

2. Cap. 

3. Bonnet. 

4. Cuflf. 

5. Collar. 

Third Set. 
What may this he? 

G. Mulf. 

7. Cape. 

8. Boa. 

9. Inkstand. 
10. Mucilaffe. 

1. Pipe. 

2. Cigar. 

3. Cigar-holder. 

4. Cigarette. 

5. Tobacco. 

Fourth Set. 
What is here? 

G. Tobacco box. 

7. Tobacco pouch. 

S. Match. 

!t. .Matchbox. 

10. Cioar-lii^htcr. 


1. Spectacles. 

2. Spectacle case. 

3. Eyeglass. 

4. Eyeglass case. 

5. Opera glass. 

1. Knife. 

2. Scissors. 

3. Pin. 

4. Needle. 

5. Cnshion. 

1. Book. 

2. Pocketbook. 

3. Needlebook. 

4. Paper. 

5. Newspaper. 

1. Bank bill. 

2. Treasury note. 

3. Currency. 

4. Coin. 

5. Gold piece. 

1. Stick. 

2. Whip. 

3. Parasol. 

4. Umbrella. 

5. Umbrella cover. 

EiFTH Set. 
What have I here f 






Sixth Set. 
Can yuu sen fliiis ? 

Opera-glass case. 
Magnifying glass. 

6. Toothpick. 

7. Comb. 

8. Brush. 

9. Thimble. 

10. Looking-glass. 

Seventh Set. 
Do ynu knuw what litis is? 

G. Pamphlet. 

7. Programme. 

8. BilL 

9. Letter. 
10. Envelope. 

Eighth Si:t. 
Look at this. 

0. Piece of money. 

7. Bank check. 

8. Bond. 

9. Silver dollar. 
10. Postage stamp. 

Ninth Set. 
Now, what is this? 

(J. Picture. 

7. Shoe. 

8. Boot. 

0. Button. 

10. Stud. 

1. Earring. 

2. Locket. 

3. Sleeve button. 

4. Hairpin. 

5. Clothct^piii. 

T'enth Set. 
TeU77ie this. 

f). Fork. 

7. Spoon . 

8. Armlet. 

U. Ornament. 
10. Cheek. 



Eleventh Set. 
/ ivant to I- now fin's. 



G. Candy. 



7. Po[)corn, 



8. Lozenge. 



'.). (Jrain. 



10. Wa.x. 

Twelfth Set. 
Frai/, what is this? 



G. Knob. 



7. Rule. 



8. Lock. 



9. Buckle. 



10. Kev. 

1. Shot. 

2. Powder. 

3. Bullet. 

4. Gun. 

5. Pistol. 

1. Bouquet. 

2. Bouquet holder. 

3. Flower. 

4. Wreath. 

5. Leaf. 

1. Pen. 

2. Penholder. 

3. Pencil. 

4. Eraser. 

5. Rubber. 

1. Card. 

2. Cardcase. 

3. Playing card. 

4. Button-hook. 

5. Key ring. 

Thirteenth Set. 
You k/to/v what this is? 

G. Percussion cap. 

7. Cartridge. 

8. Surgical instrument. 

9. Musical insti'ument. 
10. Tuninof fork. 

Fourteenth Set. 
Quick! This article. 

G. Toy. 

7. Flag. 

8. Bottle. 

9. Game. 
10. Doll. 

Fifteenth Set. 
Name this article. 

6. Case, 

7. Spool. 

8. Soap. 

9. Perfumery. 
10. Cu]). 

Sixteenth Set. 
Say, what is this 9 

6. Bunch kevs. 

7. Tablet. 

8. Cord. 

9. Tweezers. 
10. Cork. 


1. Bible. 

2. Testament. 

3. Tract. 

4. Bookmark. 

5. Prayer book. 

1. Diamonds. 

2. Hearts. 

3. Clubs. 

4. Spades. 

Seyenteenth Set. 
This article ? 

6. Hymn-book. 

7. Mnsic. 

8. Smelling bottle. 

9. Vinaigrette. 
10. Strap. 

Eighteenth Set. 
Playing cards. 

Eight"— Ace. 
' That's riglit " — King. 
Good " — Queen. 
Very good " — Jack. 

Nineteenth Set. 

1. Masonic. 

2. Odd Fellows. 

3. Knights of Pythias. 

4. Druids. 

5. Musical. 

Articles in Sets. 

" It will be seen that the different articles are arranged in sets, numbering 
no more than ten. Each set luis at the head a different question, worded very 
nearly alike, so as to make the audience believe that the same question is being 
constantly asked. The question at the head of the set, which is always asked 
first, is the clue to the set which contains the article to be described. Eacii 
set is numbered, as in the cases of tlie colors and metals, and the word conveys 
each particular article. 

" For tlie first set the question is: 

'"What article is this?' 

" This gives the clue to ten distinct articles. The next demand may be: 

" ' Can you tell ? ' 

" Whicli would be solution for ' bag,' it being the third in tiic list. 

"'Say the fabric' 

" The reply would be, ' Silk,' that being the first in the line of fabrics, and, 
as I have before stated, 'say' representing No. 1. If a leather bag, it would 
be: ' Will you tell the fabric ? ' ' will ' standing for ?so. 5. 

"A handkerchief is pi'eseuted, and the question is: 

" ' What article is this? Say; ' which exphiins that it is a handkerchief, as 
that is the first article in the list. 

'"Can you toll the fabric?' 

" ' Cotton,' cotton standiuL;- third in the list of fabi'ics. 


" Then, again, if you want the color — say it is Ijlue — 

" ' Can't you tell the color? ' 

" ' Blue,' which stands third on the list of colors. 

" A watch embodies a greater number of questions than almost any other 
;irticle. If you Avant to describe it fully, it is first in the second set, the key of 
wiiich is: 

'•'What is this?' 

" We will say that it is a lady's watch, gold, double case, three hands, made 
by Tobias, No. 9,725, the initials ' From B. C. to C. 11.' engraved on the case, 
tlieyear ' I860,' and blue enameled, set with fivo diamonds. This is a complex 
question, and must be put and answered as follows: 

^^ Question. ' What is this? Say.' 

" Atisiver. 'A watch.' 

'' Q. 'Say the metal.' 

"A. 'Gold.' 

" Q. ' Say to whom it belongs.' 

"A. 'A lady.' 

" Q. 'Yes.'" 

"A. 'A double case. ' 

" Q. ' Can you tell the number of hands? ' 

"A. 'Three.' 

" Q. 'Will you tell the maker.' 

"A. 'Tobias.' 

" Q. ' Now the number. Please tell me. Be quick. AVon't you ? ' 

"A. '9,725.' 

" Q. ' Can you tell me the color of this enamel ? ' 

"A. 'Blue.' 

" Q. 'Tell the initials. Say.' 

''A. 'B. C 

" Q. ' Say to whom. I want to know.' 

"A. 'C. H.' 

" ^. ' Say these stones.' 

"A. 'Diamonds.' 

" Q. ' Will you tell liow many ? ' 

"^. 'Five."' 

"If it is a double case, the sim[)le word ' yes ' conveys the intelligence aftei 
'to whom it belongs.' If an o])en case, the word ' well ' is used. 

Playixg Cauds. 

" These will be fciund in tlio sixteiMith set. aud the order of suits in the 
eighteenth. We will take tho nine of s])ades as having been pre>:ented. The 
question will be: 

" ' Say, what is this ? Can you tdl ? ' 

" ' A playing card.' 

a ( 

a i 


" ' Do you know tbe suit ? Now, then.' 

'' ' Do ' is four, which means spades, and ' now ' is nine. The cards are 
told as follows: First, the ' playing card; ' second, the suit; third, the number 
or picture. If, after the preliminary question is put and answered, it is an ace, 
the interlocutor says ' Right; ' if a king, ' That's right; ' if a queen, ' Good; ' 
if a jack, ' Very good.' 


" This will be found classed in the eighth set, the key to which is, ' Look at 

" No. 6 of the set is described as ' a i^iece of money,' and is always of a less 
value than a dollar. We Avill take a silver quarter of the date of 1820. The 
question is: 

'^' Look at this. What is it?' 

"A. 'A piece of money.' 

^' Q. ' Let me know the amount. Will you ? ' 

"A. ' Twenty-five cents; ' as we know that ' let ' is 2 and ' will ' 5. 

"If the coin is of this century, only the last two figures are asked; if of a 
prior date, the last three. The request therefore is: 

Look at the date. Hurry! ' which would bring the answer, ' 1820.' 
A foreign coin is furnished, say of Eome. The request would be : 
Look at this. Do you know what it is ? ' 

" The answer is, ' A coin.' 

'"What country?' 

" 'Italy; ' as Italy stands sixth in the list of countries, as will be seen by 
referring to the table. 

''A Mexican dollar will elicit the remark: 

" ' Look at this, now.' 

'"A silver dollar.' 

" "J'ell me the country.' 

" The I'eply will be, ' Mexico,' as that country stands tenth on the list. 

" A treasury note is presented of the value of fifty dollars; the cue is: 

" ' Look at this. Be qiiick.' 

*' Ansiver. ' A treasury note.' 

" 'Will you tell me the amount? Come; ' which means 5 and 0, or $50; 
' come ' being a substitute for ' hurry.' 

"Again, a 12.50 gold piece is presented, and the question is as before: 

'"Look at this." Will you ? ' 

" A nxicer. ' A gold piece. ' 

"' Let me know the amount. Won't you? Come.' 'Let,' 'won't,' and 
' come ' standing for ' 2.")<>.' 

(>iiii:i; KxAMi'i.Es. 

" ' Pray, Avhat is this? 'i'ell me.' 

" The answer is. ' A key.' •• key ' being the tenth aiticle (jf the set. Now, in 
order to tell what kind of a key, these simple words will explain: 

(( ( 


Yes,' a watch key; 'well/ a door key; 'good,' a safe key. 
What is here ? Say. ' 

" The answer is ' pipe.' 

'' Now, to ascertain what kind of a pipe, the same words as above: 

'' ' Yes,' a meerschaum pipe; ' well,' a wooden pipe; ' good,' a clay pipe. 

" ' Can you see this? Please say.' 

" Answer is ' comb. ' 

" ' Yes,' a pocket comb; ' well,' a toilet comb; ' good,' a curry comb. 

" ' Can you see this ? Are you going to tell ? ' 

" The answer is ' brush.' 

*' ' Yes,' hair brush; ' well,' clothes brush; ' good.' paint brush. 

"If an article is presented which is not down in the sets, the alphabet will 
have to be resorted to and the article si:)elled out. 

" This concludes the ' second-sight ' mystery which so perplexed the world, 
and which I never would have exposed but for the death of my lamented friend, 
Robert Heller." 

The perfect memorization of the preceding system will enable two ambi- 
tious amateurs or professioiuils to perform the " second -sight " mystery, but 
it will not enable them to produce (dl of the effects exhibited by Heller. Robert 
Heller had another system of conveying information to his blindfolded assistant 
on the stage — a system that permitted him to give a minute description of an 
object without spcnhinfj a loonl. It was this artistic effect that so puzzled 
every one. It was accomplished by means of electricity. A confederate sat 
among the spectators, near the center aisle of the theater, and the wires of an 
electric battery were connected with his chair, the electric push button being 
under the front part of the seat. Heller gave the cue to the set in which the 
article Avas, its number, etc., by some natural movement of liis body or arms; 
and the confederate, rapidly interpreting tlie secret signals, telegraj:)hed them 
to the clairvoyante on the stage. Mr. Ilermon thus describes the receiving 
instrument in his clever little book, " Hellerism " : 

" It will be remembered by all whoever witnessed Mr. and Miss Heller's 
' second-sight ' act that when he came on the stage to begin this part of his 
performance, he rolled forward to the center of the stage a sofa. This sofa had 
no back to it, thus enabling Miss Heller to sit with her back to the audience. 
As the sofa was rolled forward it was so jilaced that one of the hind legs rested 
on a little brass plate screwed to the floor of the stage. On the foot of the 
leg there were two more, thus connecting and making a complete electric com- 
munication between his secret partner and ]\Iiss Heller. 

"In the sofa there was a little machine so arranged that when the button 
was pressed a slight tap was the result. This tap could only be heard by Miss 
Heller, for it struck against a thin piece of board covered by the haircloth of 
the sofa, and sitting, as she was, directly on it, it could be easily felt." 

The verbal system and the silent system were used interchangeably during 
Heller's performances, to the complete bewilderment of the spectators. Even 
magicians were mystified. When the former system was employed. Heller was 


enabled to go to any part of the theater; but in the latter, he was compelled, 
for obvious reasons, to confine himself to the center aisle, just below where 
the confederate was seated. The connecting -wires M-ere concealed beneath the 

Other magicians, notably Kellar, have worked up the " second-sight " trick 
in an ingenious way, by the use of apparatus. The clairvoyante sits on a chair 
placed upon a raised platform, and, after her eyes have been carefully bandaged, 
she tells the names of playing cards, the numbers on bank notes, and adds 
columns of figures waittten on a blackboard by people in the audience. The 
explanation is as follows: A rubber tube runs from behind the scenes, under- 
neath the stage, and up through a hollow foot of the platform and the leg of 
the chair, terminating at the back of the chair. In the back of the lady's 
dress is a small tube which reaches her ear, being cleverly concealed by the 
curly wig which she wears. When she has taken her seat, the magician pre- 
tends to mesmerize her, and, under cover of the passes, connects the tubing in 
the chair with the tubing in her dress. An assistant behind the scenes reads 
the numbers on the bank notes Avitli a strong spyglass, and conveys the informa- 
tion to the lady through the speaking-tube. To facilitate the assistant's work, 
the magician holds the bank note against the blackboard, which is turned 
slightly to one side. The clairvoyante calls out the numbers in aloud voice, 
wdiereupon the magician proceeds to chalk them upon the board. The squar- 
ing and the cubing of numbers are performed by the assistant behind the scenes, 
with the aid of logarithmic tables. When the "second-sight" seance is con- 
cluded, the magician removes the bandage from the lady's eyes, and pretends 
to awaken her from the hypnotic state, taking advantage of the little comedy 
to disconnect the speaking tube. She rises, bows herself off the stage, taking 
particular care not to show her back to the audience. 

A very clever exhibition of " second sight " is given by Professor and Mrs. 
Baldwin. Professor Baldwin calls himself the "White Mahatma," and his 
entertainment is a curious hodge-jDodge of pretended mediumshij), clairvoy- 
ance, and vaudeville. Slips of paper and pencils, and small pads of millboard 
to serve as writing desks, are distributed among the audience by assistants; the 
recipients of the writing materials are requested to write questions on the slips, 
fold them up, and secrete them in their pockets. The "White Mahatma" 
disclaims any preparation about the millboards, remarking that they are given 
to the spectators to obviate the inconvenience of writing ou the knee, and may 
be discarded if desired. When the questions have been prepared, the assistants 
collect the pads and place them on the stage, near the footlights, in full view of 
the audience. After this there is some dancing and singing by the vaudeville 
artists connected with the company, and then Mrs. Baldwin, the clairvoyante, 
makes her appearance; she is carefully blindfolded and " mesmerized " by the 
Professor. Her communications to the audience are made after the following 
manner: " I see a lady in the orchestra, to the right. She wants to know some- 
thing about a ring that was lost." Professor Baldwin, who stands in the 
center aisle of the theater, near the stage, exclaims: "" Will the ladv who wrote 

MENTAL ^r^r!TC. 197 

that question kindly liold up the slip of jmper and ackno\vled<,''e the correct- 
ness of Mrs. Baldwin's statement? " The lady complies, and a thrill of aston- 
ishment pervades the audience. An assistant goes to the lady, takes the slip, 
and hands it to Professor Baldwin, who reads it, exclaiming: '' Mrs. Baldwin 
is correct; but let us see if she cannot give us more detailed information con- 
cerning the ring which is lost." He mounts the stage, and, standing behind 
the clairvoyante, makes violent mesmeric j)asses over her head, the piano in the 
orchestra accompanying the operation with several loud chords and cadenzas. 
Then the " White Mahatma" advances to the footlights and commands his 
wife to speak. " The ring is of gold with a pearl setting," she says, " and has 
the initials ' M. B.' engraved within. It was lost about January 1, 18 — ," etc. 
The lady in the audience had only written: "I have lost my ring; can you 
describe it ? " Consequently, when she hears this accurate description by Mrs. 
Baldwin, she is very much impressed. 

The trick is an ingenious one. It is worked up with great dramatic effect 
by the Baldwins. The secret lies in the pads of millboard, some of which 
contain carbon sheets under two layers of brown paper. The writing of the 
spectators is thereby transferred by means of the carbon paper to sheets of 
writing paper placed under the carbon sheets. The genuine millboard pads 
which are distributed among the audience are laid on the stage, while the pre- 
pared pads are carried off behind the scenes to Mrs. Baldwin, who has ample 
time to post herself with the desired information before coming on the stage. 

Of course, the spectators who get the genuine pads do not receive any clair- 
voyant communications, nor do those who discard the genuiue pads. The 
surprising part of the feat is the extraneous information imparted b}^ Mrs. 
Baldwin, which seems to preclude any possibility of trickery. This informa- 
tion is obtained from the spectators by the assistants Avhen they go to collect 
the slips of paper, and is whispered by them to Professor Baldwin. Under 
cover of the pretended magnetizing. Professor Baldwin gives his wife this 
information, the chords from the piano preventing any one from hearing what 
he says. It is all done very rapidly, the spectators being completely deluded. 
The people who have been pumped by the assistants seem to forget the fact in 
their interest in the main part of the trick, viz., the reading of the slips by ]Mrs. 
Baldwin. One reason of this self-deception is, perhaps, the fact that they do 
not suspect the integrity of the innocent-looking ushers, or regard them as a 
part of the experiment. 

Where numbers are to be conveyed, the Baldwins use a verbal code of sig- 
nals. This obviates the necessity of Mr. Baldwin going upon the stage to 
remae'uetize his wife. 

Silent ThouCxHT Transference, No. 1. 

In this ingenious trick the clairvoyante, while blindfolded, tells "the suit 
and value of any number of selected cards, solves arithmetical problems, 
gives numbers on borrowed bank notes, indicates time by any watch, describes 
borrowed coins, and many other tests." All this is accomplished in silence. 


the medium being surrounded by a committee from the audience, if desired. 
Tlie trick can be given in a private parlor, and requires no electrical apparatus, 
speaking tubes, etc. I am indebted for an explanation of " silent thought 
transference" to Mr. H. J. Burlingame. In his little brochure, "Tricks in 
Magic, Illusions, and Mental Phenomena," he writes as follows: "By means 
of the silent code all the usual effects generally exhibited at thought-reading 
seances can be reproduced. It consists in both medium and performer count- 
ing mentally and together. It is a known fact that the beats for ' common 
time ' are always the same in music; therefore, with little practice, it is easy for 
two persons, starting on a given signal, to count at the same time and rate, and 
wiien another signal is given, to stop. Of course both will have arrived at 
the same number. This then is the actual method employed in this code, and 
from it you will see that any number from to 9 can be transmitted by the 
performer to the medium. It is best to experiment and find out what rate of 
counting best suits the two persons employing this code, but the following sug- 
gestions are offered: It may, perhaps, be best to begin counting at a slow 
rate, gradually increasing until you find it advisable to go no faster. Say you 
have in the room, when first practicing, a loud-ticking clock, with a fairly slow 
beat. On the given beat or signal you both start counting at the same rate as 
the clock. Of course the clock must be removed when the rate has been well 
learned. If preferred, count at the rate of 'commoji time,' viz.: 1 and 2 
and 3 and 4, and so on, or practice with a ' metronome,' such as is used dur- 
ing piano practice for the purpose of setting time. A very good rate to finally 
adopt is about 70 to 75 per minute. Whatever rate is found to suit best must 
be adhered to. You will find at the rate mentioned that any number up to 9 
can be transmitted with absolute certainty, after an hour or so of practice. 

" Now that the princi|)le has been explained, the next items are the signals 
to give the medium the cue when to start and when to stop counting mentally. 

" Say the performer has borrowed a coin, the date of which is 1863. The 
first figure of the coin ]. and 8 are generally understood, as most coins in use 
are 18 something or other; if of date 18, in the hundreds. The performer 
must advise the medium of this by his manner of thanking the person Avho lent 
the coin, wiiicli can easily be arranged to suit one's fancy. The 6 and 2 have 
therefore to be transmitted. The performer stands away from the medium or 
among the audience. The medium being on the stage, securely blindfolded, 
the performer takes his position, with chalk in right iiand, in front of a black- 
board, holding coin in his left hand. He does not speak a word, but simply 
looks at the coin. After a pause the medium calls out: ' Tlie first figure I picture 
is a one,' or words to that effect. Immediately tlie lady stops speaking, they 
both begin to count mentally at the rate agreed upon by practice. In this case 
the number to be .transmitted is 6. As the last word of the sentence is spoken 
they commence mentally 1-2-3-4-5-6; during this short period the performer 
glances down at the coin as if to verify what the lady has called out. As soon 
as they reach the figure 6 the signal 'stop' has to be transmitted. This is 
done by the performer putting down on the blackboard sharply the figure 


called out by the lady, viz.: 'One' (1). It will be peeii by thif; method that 
the signal is quite easy to transmit, and it is perfectly natural to ]mt down the 
figure on the board quickly and sharply. The third figure of the coin is now 
known to the medium. The last figure, '1, is transmitted in the same manner 
as the previous figure. The lady says, 'The second figure I see is 8.' As 
soon as she ceases speaking, they begin the counting again, 1-2; on the 
arrival at the figure 3 the jierformer puts down the 8, previously called 
out, sharply on the board, which is the signal for 'stop.' The lady now knows 
the full date of the coin. The metal of the coin must be indicated to the 
medium previously by the wording of the reply to the owner of the coin after 
it has been handed to the performer. This can easily be arranged. The value 
of the coin or its equivalent nnmber is indicated in the same way as the previ- 
ous figure; and between the 6 and the 2, that is, after the lady has called 
out the 6, they commence to count for the value. When an occurs in the 
date, no pause is made. The performer puts down the figure on the board 
for the ' stop ' signal immediately the lady stops speaking. This if followed 
carefully will be found quite easy and natural in practice. 

''Any other system that one may adopt for giving the starting and stop- 
ping signals can, of course, be applied, but the method here proposed will be 
found to answer the 2Turpose, and cannot be detected.'"' 

The bank-note, card, and other tests are arranged on similar lines. 

Silent Thought Transference, N"o. 2. 

This clever trick Avas introduced to the theater-goers of marvel-loving Paris by 
Professor Verbeck and Mademoiselle Matliilde. (iuibal and ilarie Greville per- 
formed it in England and America, creating a great sensation. It is based on a 
very simple principle. Abbreviated somewhat from Burlingame's brochure, the 
effect is as follows: " The pretended mesmerist announces to the spectators the 
marvelous intuitive powers of his subject. Miss Venus, remarking: ' Miss Venus 
shall be hypnotized by me, and, when launched into the hypnotic sleeep, can and 
will perform any rational act that the spectatcws desire, despite the fact that I 
will not sjieak one word during the seance. While in the trance state, she will 
walk among you and comply with your requests. This, ladies and gentlemen, 
is the trance-it of Venus. When I have her under control and in the hypnotic 
trance, I will move about among you, and you can convey to )ne b}' whisper 
what you would desire the medium to do.' 

" Miss Venus is now introduced by the professor. She bows and seats her- 
self on a chair, facing the spectators. The professor, by means of any of the 
pantomimic gestures, pretends to hypnotize her, after which dramatic scene, he 
goes among the audience, asking here and there what the spectators would like 
the lady marvel to do. Having spoken to some twelve or twenty persons, he 
solemnly enjoins the strictest silence. With serious mien he advances toward 
the medium, without going on the stage, and motions or waves his right hand 
in a downward movement in front of her. She slowly rises and goes through 


each desired performance, finally returning to lier chair and allowing herself 
to be dehypnotized. 'V\\c jn'ofeesor recaiiitulates for the l)enefit of all what 
each spectator desired, and lunv Miss Yenns was successful in each and every 
crucial test. 


" In this trick a code of signs and things to be done must be learned by the 
alleged mesmerist. These he forces adroitly into the minds of the i^eople. 
The following is the forcing code: 

" 1. Pull a gentleman's hair. 

"2. Turn np his trousers. 

"3. Tie a number of knots in his handkerchief. 

"4. Take a watch out of a gentleman's pocket and place it in another 

'' 5. Open a lady's reticule; take out her purse, or anything she may desire. 

" 6. From ont of a number of coins placed in a hat, pick out the special 
one which has been selected. 

" 7. Write any number selected on a card. 

"8. Take a gentleman's cane or umbrella and put it in the hands of 
another gentleman. 

" 9. Take glasses off a person and place on own nose. 

" 10. Take off lady's or gentleman's gloves. 

" 11. Write autograph on programme gentleman holds. 

'' 13. Take a handkerchief out of some person's j'ocket and tie it on his 
neck or arm. 

" 14. Tie a knot iu a watch chain, and so on. 

" This can be varied indefinitely. 

'' How to force these requests: The professor first pretends to hy^anotize 
the subject; then moving among the audience, he goes to number one, or first 
person, and asks him what he would like the medium to do. ' Let her tell me 
Avhat I have in my pocket,' suggests the spectator. ' Oh,' says the professor, 
'you forget that she is hypnotized and we cannot have her speak. Get her to 
do so and so, or this, or that,' and so the professor rapidly shoots out a volley 
of suggestions from his learned code. As a natural result, the person selects 
one of these suggestions. 

'' Going to the next, he forces the questions differently, saying, ' What shall 
she do for you — turn up your trousers? Pull your hair? Tie a knot in your 
liandkerchief V ' etc. In this case a volley of queries is fired before the gentle- 
man has time to make any suggestions not mentioned by the professor. Seeing 
a lady sitting near with a bag, the 'mesmerist' remarks: ' Madam, have you 
a purse in it? *Yes? Shall the lady remove it, or somethiTig from it?' 
and so on. Again he beholds a gentleman with glasses on, and suggests that 
the medium remove the spectacles, etc. If, however, the gentleman does not 
wish this done, the professor suggests some of the other tests. In going 
through the audience the professor asks each individual his or her request in 


wliispei's only, and he j^^eiicrally lias oacli person wlnun he asks a couple of 
yards apart. 

"Again it is better, when forcing questions, to force only thiee at a time, 
and force tlieni in rotation. To do this, suggest three questions, but emplia- 
size or force oidy one of the three, 'i'he ]»i'ofessor has to keep his wits about 
him. Having gone to a sufficient iinmber in the audience, he must keep 
mental track of the gentleman who selected Xo. 1 of code, of him ■who selected 
No. 2, and so on. When he returns to the stage to wave down ^liss Venus, all 
she has to do is to follow him in front or at his side. The first person he stops 
at (by signal), she merely does first on code; the second he stops at, she does 
second on code; and so on right throngh. 'J'he professor mnst remember Avhere 
each chooser is seated. 

" lie directs the medium to the spectator in question by tlie movements of 
his hands. He first shows her the rows in which the persons are seated, all 
the time waving his hands as if making mesmeric passes. As soon as tlie 
medium reaches No. 1 the professor drops his left hand at his side, wherenjion 
she stops and pulls the gentleman's hair. 

"The professor then directs her to No. 2. She stops and turns np the 
gentleman's trousers. When she gets to No. 3 the man of mystery tells her 
how many knots to tie in the liandkerchief, by the number of downward waves 
of left hand, at the same time making jiasses with the right. To select any 
special coin out of a liat, or other receptacle, Miss Yenus pours the coins from 
the hat into her right hand, letting them drop one by one into the left hand. 
When she reaches the proper article, the professor turns to the audience, as 
if silencing them, and says 'hist! ' 

"The lady, however, continues pouring the coins into her left hand, and 
when all are in, picks out the one she knows is correct. 

" These methods may be readily varied to suit the taste of the performers. 

"The medium's eyes appear to be closed all the time, but in fact are open 
sufficiently for her to see all the movements of the professor. After becoming 
expert it will not be necessary to use the forcing code often, because all requests 
can be whispered to the medium by the so-called mesmerist, without the 
audience becoming aware of it. He can do this when he escorts her from the 
stage to the audience, or as he occasionally passes her in the aisles. The wav- 
ing of his hands and arms in his different 'passes' will partly tell her what she 
is expected to do. 

"This 'hypnotic demonstration ' is one of the most puzzling effects in the 
whole domain of mental masfic. 





The ancients, especially the Greeks, were very fond of theatrical represen- 
tations; but, as M. Magnin lias remarked in his " Origines du Theatre 
Moderne,'''' public representations were very expensive, and for that reason very 
rare. Moreover, those who were not \\\ a condition of freedom were ex- 
cluded from them; and, finally, all cities could not have a large theater and 
provide for the expenses that it carried with it. It became necessary, then, 
for every-day needs, for all conditions and for all places, that there should be 
comedians of an inferior order, charged with the duty of offering continu- 
ously and inexpensively the emotions of the drama to all classes of inhabitants. 

Formerly, as to-day, there were seen, Avandering from village to village, 
menageries, puppet shows, fortune tellers, jugglers, and performers of tricks 
of all kinds. These prestidigitateurs even obtained at times such celebi-ity 
that history has preserved their names for us — at least of two of them, Euclides 
and Theodosius, to whom statues were erected by their contemporaries. One 
of these Avas put up at Athens, in the Theater of Bacchus, alongside of that of 
the great writer of tragedy, ^Eschylus, and the other at the Theater of the 
Istiaiaus, holding in the hand a small ball. The grammarian Athenjeus, who 
reports these facts in his " Banquet of the Sages," profits by the occasion to 
deplore tlie taste of the Athenians, wlio preferred the inventions of mechanics 
to the culture of mind, and histrions to philosophers. He adds with vexation 
that Diophites of Locris passed down to posterity simply because he came one 
day to Thebes, wearing around his body bladders filled with wine and milk, 
and so arranged that he could spurt at will one of these liquids in apparently 
drawing it from his mouth. AVhat would Athenseus say if he knew that it was 
through him alone that the name of this histrion had come down to us ? 

Philo of Byzantium, and Heron of Alexandria, to whom we always have 
to have recourse when we desire accurate information as to the mechanic arts 


of antiquity, both composed treatises on puppet shows. That of Philo is lost, 
but Heron's treatise has been preserved to us, and has recently been translated 
in part by M. Victor Prou. 



According to the Greek engineer, there were several kinds of puppet shows. 
The oldest and simplest consisted of a small stationary case, isolated on every 
side, in which the stage was closed by doors that opened automatically several 



times to exhibit the diflereiit tableaux. The programme of the represeutatiou 
was n-enerallv as follows: The first tableau showed a head, painted on the back 


of the Stage, which moved its eyes, and lowered and raised them alternately. 
The door having been closed, and then opened again, there was seen, instead 


of a head, a group of persons. Finally, the stage opened a third time to show 
a new group, and this finished the representation. There were, tiien, only 
three movements to be made — that of the doors, that of the eyes, and that of 
the change of background. 




— - — 1__ 


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■ ',il'i!l'ir'!|il|!li'il' i 

»W/Ww;fiijwJWfjijy%m))»jiWi ! P«wg ' *j 


As such representations Avere often given on the stages of large theaters, a 
method was devised later on of causing the case to start from the scenes behind 
which it was hidden from the spectators, and of moving automatically to the 
front of the stage, where it exliibited in succession tlie different tableaux, after 
which it returned automatically behind the scenes. Here is one of the scenes 
indicated by Heron, entitled the "Triumph of Bacchus": 

The movable case shows at its upper part a ])latforin from which arises a 
cylindrical temple, the roof of which, su^iported by six columns, is conical, and 



surmounted by a figure of Victory with spread wings and holding a crown in 
her right hand. In the center of the temple Bacchus is seen standing, hold- 
ing a thyrsus in his left hand and a cup in his right. At his feet lies a pan- 
ther. In front of and behind the god, on the platform of the stage, are two 
altars provided with combustible material. Very near the columns, but exter- 
nal to them, there are Bacchantes placed in any posture that may be desired. 
All being thus prejiared, says Heron, the automatic apparatus is set in motion. 
The theater then moves of itself to the spot selected, and there stops. Then 
the altar in front of Jupiter becomes lighted, and, at the same time, milk and 
water spurt from his thyrsus, while his cup pours Avine over the panther. The 
four faces of the base become encircled with crowns, and, to the noise of drums 

FIG. 4. 

and cymbals, the Bacchantes dance round about the temple. Soon, the noise 
having ceased, Victory on the top of the temple, and Bacchus within it, face 
about. The altar that was behind the god is now in front of him, and becomes 
lighted in its turn. Then occurs another outflow from the thyrsus and cup, 
and another round of tlie Bacchantes to the sound of drums and cymbals. The 
dance being finished, the theater returns to its former station. Thus ends the 

We shall try to briefly indicate the processes which permitted of thet;e dif- 
ferent operations being performed, and M'hich offer a much raoi-o gouei-al inter- 
est than one might at first sight be led to believe; for almost all of them had 
been employed in former times for producing the illusions to which ancient 
religions owed their power. 

There is a general belief among mechanicians that vehicles containing 
within themselves the means of their own propulsion are of comparatively 
recent origin ; and the fact of the adhesion of the rims of their wheels to the 
earth or a supporting rail being sufficient to enable adequate power applied to 
the wheels to move the vehicle was a discoverv of not earlier than the middle 


of the last century; but in this instance the writers on locomotive machines 
have not dived deep enough or stayed down long enough among the records of 
antiquity to discover the bottom facts in the history of such mechanisms. 

The first locomotive, or self-nioviug vehicle, of which we have any account 
was this invention of Heron of Alexandria. In his work just cited descriptive 
of automatic or self-moving machines, there is illustrated the mechanism bv 
which the shrine of Bacchus, mounted njjon three wheels concealed within its 
base, is moved. Fig. 3 is a vertical section of that jiart of the shrine below 
the canopy, and exhibits the propelling apparatus of this ancient locomotive 
machine. Within the base are seen two of the sujjportiug wheels; the driving 

wheel nearest the eye having been removed. On the axle of the driving wheels 
was tlie drum, b, about which was wound the rope, a, which passed upward 
through the space on one side of tlie shriiie and over the pulleys, r r, and 
was fastened to the ring, c, of the ponderous lead weight, d, which rested 
upon a quantity of dry, fine sand. The escape of this sand through a small 
hole in the middh; of the floor of the compartment containing it allowed the 
lead weight, d, to gradually descend, and by pulling upon the cord, a, caused 
the shrine to move slowly forward in a straight line. 

Heron describes the method of arranging and proportioning the wheels in 
(;ase it was desired tliat the shrine move in a cin-ular patli. He also shows 
liow the shrine can be constructed to move in sti'aiglit lines at right angles 
to oacrh other. 

Fig. 4 shows the arrangenient of ilie wlu'cls foi- tliis j)urj)()sc. :ind Fig. 5 is 
a i)erspective view, showing the screws by which the bearings of either set of 



wlieels could be raised or lowered, so as to cause the shrine to move in the Avay 

Supposing the motive cords i)roperly wound around vertical bobbins, instead 
of a horizontal one, and we have the half revolution of Bacchus and Victory, 
as well as the complete revolution of the Bacchantes. This is clearly shown in 
the engraving (Fig. 2). 

The successive lighting 
of the two altars, the flow of 
milk and Avine, and the noise 
of drums and cymbals weie 
likewise obtained by the aid 
of cords moved by counter- 
poises, and the lengths of 
which were graduated in such 
a way as to ojien and close 
orifices at the proper mo- 
ment, by acting through trac- 
tion on sliding valves which 
kept them closed. 

Small pieces of combus- 
tible material were piled up 
beforehand on the two altars, 
the bodies of which were of 
metal, and in the interior of 
which were hidden small 
lamps that were separated 
from the combustible by a 
metal plate which was drawn 
aside at the jiroper moment 
by a small chain. The flame, 
on traversing the orifice, tluui 
communicated Avith the com- 

The milk and Avine which 
flowed out at two different times through the thyrsus and cup of Bacchus 
came from a double reservoir hidden under the roof of the temple, over the 
orifices. The latter communicated, each of them, Avith one of the halves of 
the reservoir, througli two tubes inserted in the columns of the small edifice. 
These tul)es Avere ])rolongcd under the floor of the stage, and extended upward 
to the hands of IJacclius. A key. nuuuinivnHl b}' curds, alfi'viiately opciUM] and 
closed the orifices which gave passage to the two lifpiids. 

As for the noise of the drums and cymbals, that resulted from the falling 
of granules of lead, containt-d in an invisible box provided Avitli an automatic 
sliding valve, upon an inclined tandtourine, whence they rel)ounded against 
little cymbals in the interior of the base of the car. 

FKi. 0. THK .MAK\Kl,or 

iTAllK OK ( YBEl.t;. 


Fiiiall}^ the crowns and garlands that suddenly made their appearance on 
the four faces of the base of the stage -were hidden there in advance between 
the two walls surrounding the base. The space thus made for the crowns was 
closed beneath, along each face, by a horizontal ti'ap moving on hinges that 
connected it with the inner wall of the base, but whicii was held temporarily 
stationary by means of a catch. The crowns were attached to the top of their 

compartment by cords 
that would have allowed 
them to fall to the level 
of the pedestal, had 
they ]iot been supported 
by the traps. 

At the desired mo- 
ment the catch, which 
was controlled by a spe- 
cial cord, ceased to hold 
the trap, and the latter, 
falling vertically, gave 
passage to the festoons 
and crowns that small 
leaden weights then 
drew along with all the 
quickness necessary. 

Two points here are 
specially Avorthy of at- 
tracting our attention, 
and these are the flow^ 
of wine or milk from 
the statue of Bacchus, 
a!id the spontaneous 
lighting of the altar. 
These, in fact, Avere the 
two illusions that Avere 
most admired in ancient 
times, and there were several processes of performing them. Father Kircher 
possessed in his museum an apparatus which he describes in '^CEdipus 
JE(jii;iHii(i(s^'' (t. ii., p. ;).'53), and Avhidi ])r()bul)ly came from some ancient 
Egyj)tiau temjjle as sliown in l''ig. H. 

It consisted of -ji hollow lu'inisphcrical dome, suppoj"tt'(l by four columns, 
and placed over tiie statue of the goddess of many breasts. To two of these 
colujiins were adapted movable brackets, at whose extremities tliere were fixed 
lamps. The hemisphere was hermetically closed underneath by a metal plate. 
The small altar which supported the statue, and Avhich Avas filled Avith milk, 
communicated with the interior of the statue by a tul)e reaching nearly to the 
hi>tl(»ni. Till! altiir likewise coniniunicatt'd MitU the hollow dome bv a tube 




having a double bend. At the moment of the sacrifice the two lamps were 
lighted and the brackets turned so that the flames should come in contact with 
and heat the bottom of the dome. The air contained in the latter, being dil- 
ated, passed through the tube X M and pressed on the milk contained in the 
altar, and caused it to rise through the straight tube into the interior of the 
statue as high as the breasts. A series of small conduits, into which the prin- 
cipal tube divided, carried the liquid to the breasts, whence it spurted out, to 
the great admiration of the spectators, who cried out at the miracle. The 
sacrifice being ended, the 
lamps were put out, and the 
milk ceased to flow. 

Heron of Alexandria de- 
scribes in his " Pneumatics " 
several analagous ajiparatus. 
Here is one of them. (M. de 
Eochas translates the Greek 
text literally.) 

'* To construct an altar in 
such a way that, when a tire 
is lighted thereon, the statues 
at the side of it shall make 
libations (Fig. 7). 

*' Let there be a pedestal, 
A B r /J, on which are placed 
statues, and an altar, E Z H, 
closed on every side. The 
pedestal should also be 
hermetically closed, but is 
connected with the altar 
through a central tube. It 
is traversed likewise by the 
tube, e A (in the interior of 
the statue to the right), not 
far from the bottom, which terminates in a cup held by the statue, e. Water 
is poured into the pedestal tli rough a hole, M, which is afterward corked up. 

•'If, then, a fire be lighted on the altar, the internal air will be dilated, 
and will enter the pedestal and drive out the water contained in it. But the 
latter, having no other exit than the tube, e A, will rise into the cup, and so 
the statue will make a libation. This will last as long as' the fire does. On 
extinguishing the fire the libation ceases, and occurs anew as often as the fire 
is relighted. 

" It is necessary that the tube through which the heat is to introduce itself 
shall be wider in the middle; and it is necessary, in fact, that the heat, or 
rather that the draught that it produces, shall accumulate in an iufiation, in 
order to have more effect." 



According to Father Kircher, an author whom he calls Bitho reports that 
there was at Sai's a temple of Minerva in which there was an altar on which, 
when a fire was lighted, Dionysius and Artemis (Bacchus and Diana) poured 
milk and wine, while a dragon hissed. 

It is easy to conceive of the modification to be introduced into the apparatus 
above described by Heron, in order to cause the outflow of milk from one side 
and of wine from the other. 

After having indicated it, Father Kircher adds: " It is thus that Bacchus 
and Diana appeared to jiour, one of them wine, aud the other milk, and that 
the dragon seemed to applaud their action by hisses. As the people who were 
present at the sjiectacle did not see what was going on within, it is not aston- 
ishing that they believed it due to divine intervention. We know, in fact, that 
Osiris or Bacchus was considered as the discoverer of the vine and of milk; 
that Iris was the genius of the waters of the Nile; and that the Serpent, or 
good genius, was the first cause of all these things. Since, moreover, sacrifices 
had to be made to the gods in order to obtain benefits, the flow of milk, wine, 
or water, as well as the hissing of the serpent, when the sacrificial flame was 
lighted, appeared to demonstrate clearly the existence of the gods." 

In another analogous apparatus of Heron's, it is steam that performs the 
role that we have just seen played by dilated air. But the ancients do not 
appear to have perceived the essential difference, as regards motive power, that 
exists between these two agents; indeed, their preferences were wholly for air, 
although the effects produced were not very great. We might cite several 
small machines of this sort, but we shall confine ourselves to one example that 
has some relation to our subject. This also is borrowed from Heron's " Pneu- 
matics." (Fig. 8.) 

"Fire being lighted on an altar, figures will appear to execute around 
dance. The altars should be transparent, and of glass or horn. From the 
fireplace there starts a tube which runs to the base of the altar, where it 
revolves on a pivot, while its upper part revolves in a tube fixed to the fireplace. 
To the tube there should be adjusted other tubes (horizontal) in communica- 
tion with it, which cross each other at right angles, and which are bent in 
opposite directions at their extremities. There is likewise fixed to it a disk 
upon which are attached figures which form a round. When the fire of the 
altar is lighted, the air, becoming heated, will pass into the tube; but being 
driven from the latter, it will pass through the small bent tubes aud . . . 
cause the tube as well as the figures to revolve." 

Father Kircher, who had at liis disposal either many documents that we 
are not acquainted with, or else a very lively imagination, alleges {Q^dip. yEg., 
t. ii., p. 338) that King Menes took inucli delight in seeing such figures 
revolve. Nor are the examples of holy fircjilaces tliat kindled spontaneously 
wanting in antiquity. 

I'liny {Hist. Nat., ii.,7) and Horace {Set'vi. Sat., v.) tell us that this phe- 
nomenon occurred in the temj)le of (inatia, and Solin (ch. v.) says that it 
was observed likewise on an altnr near Agrigentum. Athenjeus {Deipn., i., 15) 


Kiys that the cclehnited ])restidigitiiteur, Cratistlicnes of Phlius, pupil of 
another celebrated prentidigitateur named Xenophon. knew the art of prepar- 
ing a fire which lighted spontaneously 

Pausanias tells us that in a city of Lydia, avIiosu inhabitants, having fallen 
under the yoke of the Persians, had embraced the religion of the Magi, '* there 
exists an altar upon which there are ashes which, in color, resemble no other. 
The priest puts wood on the altar, and invokes I know not what god by ha- 
rangues taken from a book written in a barbarous tongue unknown to the 
Greeks, when the wood soon lights of itself without fire, and the flame from it 
is very clear." 

The secret, or rather one of the secrets of the Magi, has been revealed to 
us by one of the Fathers of the Church (St. Hippolytus. it is thought), who 
has left, in a work entitled PliiJof^opliumetia, which is designed to refute the 
doctrines of the pagans, a chapter on the illusions of their priests. According 
to him, the altars on which this miracle took place contained, instead of ashes, 
calcined lime and a large quantity of incense reduced to powder; and this 
would exjjlain the unusual color of the ashes observed by Pausanias. The 
process, moreover, is excellent; for it is only necessary to throw a little water 
on the lime, with certain precautions, to develop a heat callable of setting on 
fire incense or any other material that is more readily combustible, such as sul- 
phur and phosphorus. The same author points out still another means, and 
this consists in hiding fire-brands in small bells that were afterward covered 
with shavings, the latter having previously been covered with a comj^osition 
made of naphtha and bitumen (Greek fire). As may be seen, a very small 
movement sufficed to bring about combustion. 


A. Rich, in his "Dictionary of Roman and Grecian Antiipiities," relates, 
u!ider the word adytum, that many ancient temples possessed chambers that were 
known only to the priests, and that served for the production of tiieir mysteries. 
He was enabled to visit a perfectly preserved one of these at Alba, on Lake 
Fucino, in the ruins of a temple in Avhich it had been formed under the apsis, 
that is to say, under the large semicircular niche which usually held the image 
of the god at the extreme end of the edifice. '' One jmrt of this chamber," 
says he, "is sunk beneath the pavement of the principal part of the temple 
{cella), and the other rises above it. The latter, then, must have appeared to 
the worshippers assembled in the temple merely like a base that occupied the 
lower portion of the apsis, and that was designed to hold in an elevated posi- 
tion the statue of the divinity whose name Avas borne by the edifice. This 
sanctuary, moreover, had no door or visible communication that opened into 
the body of the temple. Entrance therein was effected through a hidden door 
in an inclosure of walls at the rear end of the building. It was through this 


that the priests introduced themselves and their machines without being seen 
or recognized. But there is one remarkable fact, and one which proves with- 
out question the purpose of the adytum, and tiiat is, that we find therein a 
number of tubes or liollow conduits which form a communication between this 


compartment and the interior of the temple, which end at the different parts 
of the walls of the cella, and which thus allowed a voice to make itself heard 
at any place in the temple, while the person and the place wd)ence the sound 
emanated remained hidden." 

Sometimes the adutu^n was simply a chamber situated behind the apsis, as 
in a small edifice which was still in existence at Eome in the sixteenth century, 
and a description of which has been left to ns by Labbacco, an architect of 
that epoch. 

Colonel Fain tells us that he himself has visited an ancient temple in Syria, 
in the interior of all the walls of which there had been formed narrow passages 
through which a man could make a tour of the building without being seen. 

In the temi)le of Ceres, at Eleusis, the pavement of the cella is rough and 
much lower tluin the level of the adjacent portico; and, moreover, the side 
walls exhibit apertures and vertical and horizontal grooves whose jmrpose it is 
difficult to divine, but which served, perhaps, for the establisliing of a movable 
flooring like that spoken of by Pliilostratus in the " Life of Apollouius " (lib. iii., 
eh. v.). "The sages of India," says he, " led Apollouius toward the temple 
of their god, singing hymns on tlie way, and forming a sacred procession. The 
earth, which they strike in cadence with their staves^ moves like an agitated 



eea, aud raises them to a height of nearly two paces, and then settles again 
and assumes its former level." 

The statues of the gods, when they were of large dimensions, possessed 
cavities which tlie priests entered through hidden passages, in order to deliver 
oracles (Theodoret, Hist. Eccl., vol. xxii.). 

We read in Pausanias {Arcadiat, lib. viii., ch. xvi.) that at Jerusalem the 
tomb of a woman of the country, named Helen, had a door made of marble 
like the rest of the monument, and that this door opened of itself on a certain 
day of the year, and at a certain hour, by means of a machine, and closed 
again some time afterward. *" At any other time," adds he, *' had you desired 
to open it, you had sooner broken it." 

According to Pliny (xxxvi. 14), the gates of the labyrinth of Thebes were so 
constituted that when they were opened they emitted a noise like that of thunder. 

Heron, in his *' Pneumatics," gives us an explanation of some of these 

Our first engraving is sufficiently clear to permit of dispensing with a repro- 
duction of the Gfreek engineer's text in tliis place. It will be seen that when 
the door is opened, a system of cords, guide-pulleys, and rods pushes into a 
vessel of water a hemisphere, to the upper part of which a trumpet is fixed. 


The air compressed by the water escapes through the instrument and causes it 
to make a sound. 

Our second and third enirravings are likewise borrowed from Heron. 

The altar is hollow, as shown at E, in second engraving. AVhen fire is 


lighted thereon, tlie air contained in the interior dilutes and presses against 
the water with which the globe situated, beneath is filled. This water then 
runs through a bent tube into a sort of pail suspended from a cord that passes 


b .'■ 1 I ' Ui i ^' 



over a pulley, and afterward separates into two parts, and winds around two 
cylinders movable upon pivots, and forming a ]n-olongation of the axes around 
which the doors revolve. Around the same cylinders are wound in opposite 
directions two other cords, wbich likewise unite into a single one before pass- 
ing over a l)ulley, and then hang vertically iu order to hold a counterpoise. 



It is clear that, wlieu the water from the globe eiiter.s tlie pail, the weight of 
the latter will be thereby increased, and that it will descend and draw ou the 
cord, which has been wound around the cylinders in such a way as to cause the 
doors to open when it is drawn in this direction. 

The doors are afterward closed again as follows: 'J'he l>ent tube that puts 
the globe and pail in conmiunication forms a siphon whose longer arm enters 
the globe. When the lire is extinguished upon the altar, the air contained in 
the latter and in the globe becomes cooled and diminished in volume. The 
water in the pail is then drawn into the globe, and the siphon, being thus 
naturally primed, operates until all the water in the pail has passed over into 
the globe. In measure as the pail lightens, it rises under the influence of the 
counterpoise; and the latter, in its descent, closes the doors through the inter- 
medium of the cords wound around the cylinder. Heron says that mercury 
was sometimes used instead of water ou account of its being heavier. 


At the railway stations, ferry houses, and even upon the street corners, 
there may be found in almost every city and village in the United States auto- 
matic vending machines, which, for a nickel, or more or less, will deliver the 
various goods which they are adapted to sell. The purchaser niay procure a 
newspaper and a cigar to smoke, or, if averse to the use of the weed, lie may 
secure a tablet of chewing-gum or a package of sweets. If entertainment is 
desired, it may be found in the '' nickel-iu-the-slot " jihouograph. 

In Europe and America machines of this class are provided for dealing out 
portable liquors; bouquets are also furnished in a similar wi^v; and if you desire 
to know how mnch you have increased in weight since yesterday, all that need 
be done is to mount the platform of the nickel-in-the-slot scales, and drop in 
your coin, and the thing is done. One of the latest achievements in this line 
is the automatic photographic apparatus, which takes your picture for a nickel, 
Avhile you Avait. 

The craze lias even gone so far as to apply the jirinciple to the distribution 
of perfumery. In the railway stations and ferry houses may be found machines 
which, for a penny, will dole out a drop or two of liquid wliich jiasses for per 
fumery, and wdiich, in many cases, serves as a thin mask for bodily uncleau- 

These various devices, and many others which we might mention, are 
regarded as very clever inventions, and have certainly proved successful in 
many cases in a pecuniary sense. 

The last automatic vending machine alluded to is shown in our second 
engraving. The perfume reservoir is located in the upjier ]iortion of the vase; 
the tube communicating with the lower part of the reservoir extends through 
the side of the vase, and is closed at its upper end by a valve attached to one 



lOU B.C. 

end of tlie lever, 0. The 

other end of the lever, 0, 

is connected by a rod 

with the lever. E, the 

longer arm of this lever 

being provided with a 

pan, R, for receiving coin, 

while the shorter arm of 

the lever is furnished with 

a weight for counterbal- 
ancing the pan and closing 

the valve. A curved piece 

of metal is arranged con- 
centric with the path of 

the pan, R, and serves to 

retain the coin dropped 

into it through the slot in 

the top of the vase until 

the pan, R, is carried 

down beyond the end of 

the curved plate, when the 

coin is discharged into the lower part of the vase; the counterweight on the 

short arm of the lever then returns the lever to the point of starting and closes 

the valve, thus stopping the flow of the perfume. 

This very clever device 
Avas patented by Mr. Lewis 
C. Noble,of Boston, Mass., 
on JSTovember 19, 1889. 
Our illustration is pre- 
]>ared directly from the 
patent drawings. This 
and other machines for 
analogous purposes are re- 
garded as the peculiar 
product of our inventive 
age, but in turning back 
the pages of history, we 
fiiul that in Eg3^pt, some- 
tliing more than two thou- 
sand years ago, when a 
worshiper was about to 
enter the temple, he sprin- 
kled himself with lustral 

noble's attomatic i'khki mk distiuhctoh. i'atenteu water, taken from a vase 
IS 18.S!). near the entrance. The 


priests made the distributiou of holy water a source of revenue by the employ- 
ment of the automatic vending machine which is shown in our first engraving. 
This apparatus would nob release a single drop of the purifying liquid until 
coin to the amount required had been deposited in the vase. 

A comparison of the ancient lustral water vase and the modern perfumery 
vending machine will show that they are substantially alike. The ancient 
machine has a lever, 0, fulcrumed in the standard, N, and connected with the 
valve in the reservoir, H. The lever is furnished with the pan, R, for receiving 
the coins dropped through the slot, A, at the tojj of the vase. An enlarged 
view of the valve belonging to the vase is shown at the left of the engraving. 

The mechanism is almost identical with that sliown in the modern device; 
in fact, this ancient vase, described by Heron more than two thousand years 
ago, is the prototype of all modern automatic vending machines, and simply 
serves as another jjroof of the truth of the saying, '' There is nothing new 
under the sun." 

It is a curious fact that this ancient invention escaped the notice of the 
Patent Office until long after patents were granted for the earlier automatic 
vending machines. It was only a comparatively short time ago that the Patent 
Office began to cite the vase of Heron as a reference. It was discovered in 
an ancient -work on natural philosophy, and it is a matter of considerable 
interest to us now to know that this device was well* known to the Patent Office 
during the middle of this century. The vase of Heron is illustrated and 
described in a work on hydraulics and mechanics published in 1850 by Thomas 
Ewbank, who was at that time Commissioner of Patents. 


Two- thousand years ago the Egyptian priests sold holy water to the faith- 
ful by a similar process to that which we have just described, although the 
apparatus did not partake of the nickel-in-the-slot character. Heron says of 
them, that there are placed in Egyptian sanctuaries, near the portico, movable 
bronze wheels which those who are entering cause to revolve ''because brass 
passes for a jjurifier." He says that it is expedient to arrange them in such 
a way that the rotation of the wheel will cause the flow of the lustral water. 
He describes the apparatus as follows: 

"Let ABFJ be a water vessel hidden behind the posts of the entrance 
doors. This vessel is pierced at the bottom with a hole, E, and under it there 
is fixed a tube, Z H K, having an aperture opposite the one in the bottom of 
the vessel. In this tube there is placed another one, A M, which is fixed to the , 
former at A. This tube, A ]\[, likewise contains an aperture, U, in a line witlir 
the two preceding. Between these two tubes there is adapted a third, X H P, 
movable by friction on each of them, and having an aperture, 2, opposite E. 


''If these tliree holes l)e in a straight line, tiie water, when poured into the 
vessel, A B /'J, will flow out through the tuhe, A M; but if the tube, N H R, 
be turned in sueh a way as to displace the aperture, 2, the flow will cease. It 
is only necessary, then, to so fix the wheel, IS 'H O P, that, wheu made to 
revolve, the, water shall flow." 

This ingenious system of cocks having several ways was reproduced iu the 
sixteenth century by Jacques Besson, in his "TJLeatrum Iiistrninentnrum el 
Machinarum.'''' Besson api:)lied it to a cask provided with compartments, 
which gave at will different liquors through the same orifice. Some years 
later, Denis Papin proposed it for high-jiressure steam engines. Further im- 
proved, it has become the modern long D valve. 




Heron, in liis " Pneumatics," describes a large number of wonderful vessels 
that were used by tlie ancients, and, among them, one called the " dicaiometer " 
(a correct measure), which allowed of tlie escape of but a definite quantity of 
the liquid that it contained. 

This was constructed as follows: Let us suppose a vessel (see the illustra- 
tion) whose neck is closed by a diaphragm. 
Near the bottom there is placed a small sphere, 
T, of a capacity equal to the quantity that it is 
desired to pour out. Through the diaphragm 
there passes a small tube, z/ E, which commu- 
nicates with the small sphere. This tube con- 
tains a very small aperture, A, near and beneath 
the diaphragm. The sphere contains at its 
lower part a small aperture, Z, whence starts a 
tube, Z H, that communicates with the hollow 
handle of the ewer. Alongside of this aperture 
tiie globe contains another one. A, through 
which it communicates with the interior of the 
e^ver. The handle is provided Mitlr a vent, Q. 
After closing the latter, the ewer is filled with 
liquid through an aperture that is afterwards 
stopped up. The tube, A E, may likewise be 
made use of, but in this ease it is necessary to 
form a small aperture in the body of the ewer 
in order to allow the air to make its exit. The 
globe, T, fills at the same time that the ewer 
does. Xow, if we turn the ewer over, leaving 
the vent open, the liquid in tlie globe, 1\ and 
in the small tube, z/ E, will How out. If we close 
the vent and bring the ewer to its former posi- 
tion, the globe and the tube will fill up anew, 
since the air that they contain will be expelled tuk dhaid-mhtki!. 


by the liquid that enters thereinto. The ewer being again turned over, an 
equal quantity of liquid will flow anew, save a difference due to the small tube, 
zJE, since this latter will not always be full, and will empty in measure as the 
ewer does; but such difference is very insignificant. 


Ctesias, the Greek, who was physician to the Court of Persia at the begin- 
ning of the fourth century of our era, and who has written a history of that 
country, narrates the following fact: Xerxes, having caused the tomb of Belus 
to be opened, found the body of the Assyrian monarch in a glass coffin which 
was nearly full of oil. " Woe to him," said an inscription at the side, *' who, 
having violated this tomb, does not at once finisli the filling of the coffin." 

Xerxes, therefore, at once gave orders to have oil poured into it; but what- 
ever the quantity was that was put in, the coffin could not be filled. This mir- 
acle must have been effected by means of a siphon, analogous to the one found 
in the Tantalus cup, and which becomes primed as soon as the level rises in the 
vessel above the horizontal; that is, on a line with the upper part of the tube's 
curve. In fact, proof has been found of the use of the siphon among the 

Egyptians as far back as the 
eighteenth dynasty, and Her- 
on, in his "Pneumatics" 
(book xii., chap, iii.), de- 
scribes a very large number 
of vessels that are founded 
upon its use. 

The ancients, likewise, 
solved a problem contrary to 
that of the tomb of Belus, 
and that was one connected 
with the construction of a 
vessel that should always re- 
main full, whatever was the 
quantity of water that was 
lemoved from it, or, at least, 
which should remain full 
even when a large quantity 
of water was taken from it. 

The annexed engraving 
(Fig, 1) shows one of the ar- 
rangements employed. 

"Let A B be a vessel 
Ki(i. 1. A Mil! Acii.ors vKssKi, (»i' iiKuoN, coutaiuiiig a (juantity of 



water equal to that which may be demanded, and F J a tube that puts it in 
communication with a reservoir, H Q, lower down. Xear this tube there is 
fixed a lever, EZ, from whose extremity, E, is suspended a cork float, K, and 
to whose other extremity, Z, 
there is hooked a chain that 
carries a leaden weight, ^. 

"The whole shoukl be so 
arranged that the cork, K, 
which floats on the water, 
shall close the tube's orifice; 
that wlien the water flows out, 
the cork, in falling, shall 
leave such aperture free; and, 
finally, that when a new sup- 
ply of Avater enters, the cork 
shall rise with it and close 
the orifice anew. To effect 
this the cork must be heavier 
than the leaden Aveight sus- 
pended at p.. Now, let A M 
be a vessel whose edges should 
be at the same height as the 
level of the water in the reser- 
voir when there is uo flow 
through the tube because of 
the cork float. Again, let 
f) X be a tube that connects 
the reservoir with the base of 
the vessel, A M. 

"So, then, when we remove water from the vessel, ./.M. after it has once 
been fllled, we shall at the same time lower the level of tiie water in the reser- 
voir, and the cork, in falling, will open the tube. The water thereupon run- 
ning into the lower reservoir, and from thence into the external vessel, will 
cause the cork to rise and the flow to cease, and this will occur every time that 
we remove water from the tazza. " 

There were, also, vessels which discharged but a certain definite quantity of 
the liquid that they contained. AVe have already described one of these, but 
here is another that is more comi)licated, wherein the quantity of liquid that it 
measures out may be caused to vary in the same vessel. 

A vessel containing wine, and provided with a spout, being placed upon a 
pedestal, to cause the spout, l)y the simple moving of a weight, to allow a given 
quantity of wine to flow ; now, for example, half a cotyle (0.13 liter), and now 
a whole cotyle ; or, briefly, any quantity that nuiy be desired. 

" Let AB be the vessel into which the wine is to be put (Fig. 'i). >.'eai- 
its bottom there is a spout, J. Its neck is closed by a i)artition, K /, through 

mii:acui>ous vksski. of ukhon. 


which pusses a tube that runs to the bottom, but leaving, however, sufficieiit 
space for tlie passage of the water. Let K A M N be the i:)edestal upon which 
the vessel stands, and H another tube tliat reaches as far as the partition and 
enters the pedestal. In the latter there is sufficient water to stop up the orifice 
of the tube, H 0. Finally, let i7P be a lever, half of which is in the interior 
of the pedestal and the other half external to it, and which pivots on the point 
2, aud carries suspended from its extremity, 77, a clepsydra having an aper- 
ture, T, in the bottom. 

" The spout being closed, the vessel is filled through the tube, II 0, before 
putting water into the pedestal, so that the air may escape through the tube, 
HO. Then, through any aperture whatever, water is poured into the pedestal 
in such a way as to close the orifice, 0; and, after this, the spout. A, is opened. 
It is clear that the wine will not flow, since the air cannot enter anywhere. 
But, if we depress the extremity, P, of the* lever, a part of the cleps^^dra will 
rise from the water, and the orifice, 0, being freed, the spout will flow 
until the water lifted up in the clepsydra has, on running out, closed this same 
orifice again. If, when the clepsydra has become full again, we still further 
depress the extremity, P, the liquid in the clepsydra will take longer to flow 
out, and more wine will consequently bo discharged from the spout. If the 
clepsydra rises entirely from out the water, the flow will last still longer yet. 
Instead of depressing the extremity, P, by hand, Ave may use a weight, ^, 
which is movable on the external part of the lever and capable of lifting the 
whole of the clepsydra out of the water when it is placed near P. This 
weight, then, will lift a portion only when it is farther away from such point. 
We must proceed, therefore, Avith a certain number of experiments upon the 
flow through the spout, and make notches on the lever arm, PX, and register 
the quantities of Aviue that correspond thereto, so that, Avhen Ave desire to cause 
a definite quantity to flow, Ave shall only have to put the weight on the corres- 
ponding notch, and lea\'e it." 

The miracle of changing Avater into wine is one of those upon Avhich the 
ancients exercised their imaginations most. Heron and Philo describe fifteen 
apparatus designed for efl'ecting this, and more generally for causing different 
liquors to flow at Avill from the same vessel. 

Here is one of the simplest of them (Fig. 3): ''There are," says Heron, 
''certain drinking-horns which, after Avine lias been jiut into them, allow of 
the flow, when water is introduced into them, now of pure Avine, and now of 
pure Avater. 

"They are constructed as follows: Let A Jj /'J boa drinking-horn ])V0- 
vided with two diaphragms, A E and Z H, through Avhich ])asse8 a tube, OK, 
this being soldered to tlu'in and containing an a]ierture. ./, slightly above the 
diaiihragm, Z H. lieneatli the diaphragm, J L, tliere is a vent, ^l, in the side 
of the vessel. 

"Such ai'rangenumts having been nuide, if anyone, on stopping the ori- 
lii'i', / ', poiii-K wine into the horn, tlie li(iu()r will flow thi'ough thu aperture, J, 
into tlic coniijartnicnt, JV/A\\, sin<;e the air contained tlicrcin can escMpe 



through the vent, M. If, now, wo close the vent, tlie wine in the compart- 
ment, J E Z H, will be held there. Consequently, if, on closing the vent, M, 
we pour water into the part, A B J E, of the vessel, pure Muter will flow out 
through the oritice, F; and if, afterward, we opeu the vent, M, while there is 
yet water above the upper diajihragm, a mixture of wine and water will flow 
out. Then, when all the water has been discharged, jnire wine Avill flow. 

" On opening and closing the vent, M, ofteuer, the nature of the flow may 
be made to vary; or, what is better still, we may begin by filling the compart- 
ment, AEZH,yf\l\\ water, 
and then, closing M, pour 
out the wine from above. 
Then we shall see a successive 
flow of pure wine and of wine 
and water mixed, when we 
open the vent, M, and then, 
again, of pure wine when the 
vent is closed anew; and this 
will occnr as many times as 
we desire it." 

The apparatus represented 
in Fig. 4 is very curious, and 
might be put to some useful 
application, without mention- 
ing that which wine mer- 
chants miglit make of it by 
changing the order of the 
liquids and leaving in view 
only the vessel, A B, and the 

''Being given," says Heron again, "two vessels, one of them containing 
wine, it is required that whatever be the quantity of water j^oured into the 
empty one, the same quantity of a mixture of wine and water, in any propor- 
tion whatever (two parts of water to one of wine, for example), shall flow out 
through a pipe. 

'' Let A B be a vessel in the form of a cylinder, or of a rectangular parallel- 
opipedon. At the side of it, and upon the same base, we place another vessel, 
FA, which is hermetically closed, and of cylindrical or 2)arallelopipedal form, 
like AB. But the base of AB must be double that of FA if we desire that 
the quantity of water shall be double that of the wine in the mixture. Near 
FA we place another vessel, EZ, wiiich is likewise closed, and into which we 
have poured wine. The vessels, lA and E Z, are connected by a tube, IE f^K, 
which traverses the diaphragms that close them at their upper ])art, and Avliich 
is soldered to these. In the vessel, E Z, Ave place a bent si})hon, ./MlSr, 
whose inner leg should come so near to the bottom of the vessel as to leave 
just enough space for the li([uid to pass, while the other leg runs into a neigh- 



boring vessel, HO. From this latter there starts a tube, II \*, which passes 
through all the vessels, or the pedestal that supports them, iu such a way that 
it can be easily carried under and very near the bottom of the vessel, A B. 
Another tube, ^T, traverses the partitions in the vessels, AB and FA. 
Finally, near the bottom of AB we adjust a small tube, T, which we inclose, 
with the tube HL, in a pipe, ^X, that is provided with a key for opening or 
closing it at wdll. Into the vessel, E Z, we pour wine through an aperture, 
£1, which we close after the liquor has been introduced. 


" These arrangements having been made, we close the pipe, X <?, and pour 
water into the vessel, A B. A portion, that is to say, one-half, will pass into 
the vessel, FA, through the tube, ^T, and the water that enters FA will 
drive therefrom a quantity of air equal to itself into E Z, through the tube, 
II ^^K. In the same way this air will drive an equal quantity of wine into 
the vessel, H, through the siphon, yl M N". Now, upon oj)ening the pipe, 
<?X, the water poured into the vessel, AB, and the wine issuing from the 
vessel, OH, through the tube, TIP, will flow together, and this is just what it 
was proposed to effect." 

Tlie accompanying figures, borrowed from a work on ''Scientiflc Recre- 
ations," by the late editor of La Nature, M. (Jaston Tissandier, roju-escnts 
a magic vase and pitcher such as tlie ancients were accustomed to emj)loy 
for the purpose of practicing a harmh'ss and amusing de(;option on those who 
were not acquainted with the structure of tiie apparatus. For instance, if 
any one should attempt to pour wine or Avater from the j'itcher shown in the 



cut, the liquid Avould run out through the apertures in tlie sides. But the 
person who knew how to use the vessel Avould simply place his fiuger over the 
aperture in the hollow handle (Fig. G) and then suck through the spout, A, 
when the liquid would flow iip through the handle and through a channel run- 
ning around the rim of the vessel and so reach the spout. These magic vases, 
cups, 2")itchers, etc., Avere not only in use among the ancients, but were quite 



common in the eighteenth century, and numerous specimens are to be seen in 
European collections. The ones shown in the accompanying cuts are pre- 
served in the Museum at Sevres. These api)aratus are all based on the use of 
concealed siphons, or, rather, their construction is based on the principle 
of that instrument. Devices of this kind admit of very numerous modifi- 
cations. Thus tankards have been so contrived that the act of applying 
them to the lips charged tlie siphon, and the liquid, instead of entering the 
mouth, then passed through a false passage into a cavity formed for its recep- 


tion below. By making the cavity of the siphon sufficiently large, a person 
ignorant of the device would find it a difficult matter even to tdste the con- 
tents, however thirsty he might be. Dishonest publicans, whose signboards 
announced " entertainment for man and beast," are said to have thus despoiled 
travelers in old times of a portion of their ale or mead, as well as their horses 
of feed. Oats were put into a perforated mangei', and a large part forced 
through the openings into a receptacle below by the movements of the hungry 
animal's mouth. Heron, in the eiglith problem of his " Fjjiritalia,''' figures and 
describes a magical pitcher in which a horizontal, minutely perforated partition 
divides the vessel into two parts. The handle is hollow and air-tight, and at 
its upper part a small hole is drilled where the thumb or finger can readily 
cover it. If the lower part of the 2:)itcher be filled with Avater and the upper 
with wine, the liquids Avill not mix as long as the snuill hole in the handle 
is closed; the Avine can then be eitlier drunk or poured out. If the hole be 
left open for some time, a mixture of both liquids will be discharged. " With 
a vessel of this kind," says an old writer, "you may welcome unbidden guests. 
Having the lower part already filled with water, call to your servant to fill 
your pot with wine; then you may drink unto your guest, drinking up all the 
wine; when he takes the pitcher, thinking to pledge you in the same, and 
finding the contrary, will happily stay away until he be invited, fearing that 
his next presumption might more sharply be rewarded." Another old way of 
getting rid of an unwelcome visitor was by offering him wine in a cup having 
double sides and an air-tight cavity formed between them. When the vessel 
was filled, some of the liquid entered the cavity and compressed the air within, 
so that when the cup was inclined to the lips and partly emptied, the pressure 
being diminished, tlie air expanded and drove jiart of the contents in the face 
of the drinker. Another goblet was so contrived that no one could drink out 
of it unless he understood the art. The liquid was suspended in cavities, and 
discharged by admitting or excluding air through several secret openings. 

The apparatus represented in the illustration (Fig. T) represents an 
arrangement similar to that of the inexhaustible bottle of Robert-Houdin, but 
it is more ingenious. The problem proposed, as enunciated by Heron, the 
Greek engineer, who describes the ajiparatus, is as follows: '"Being given a 
vessel, to pour into it, through the orifice, wines of several kinds, and to 
cause any kind that may be designated to flow out through the same orifice, so 
that, if different i)erKons have poured in different wines, each jierson may take 
out in his turn all the wine that belongs to him. 

" Let A 15 be a hermetically closed vessel whose neck is provided with a dia- 
phragm, EZ, and which is divided into as many comjiartments as the kinds of 
wine that it is proposed to pour into it. Let us suppose, for example, H O and 
KA are diaphragms forming the three com])artments, M, N, and H, into 
which wine is to be poured. In the diaphragm, E Z, there are formed small 
apertures that correspond respectively to each of the compartments. Let 0, 
77, and P be such apertures, into which are soldered small tubes, 77.2", T, 
and P T, which project into the neck of the vessel. Around each of these 



tuljes there are formed in tlie diaphragm small apertures like those of a sieve, 
through which the liquids may flow into the different compartments. When, 
therefore, it is desired to introduce one of the wines into tiie vessel, the vents, 
2, T, and F are stopped with the fingers, and the wine is poured into the 
neck, <?, where it will remain without flowing into any of the compartments, 
because the air contained in the latter has no means of egress. But, if one of 
the said vents be opened, the air in the compartment corresponding thereto 
will flow out, and the wine will flow into such compartment through the aper- 
tures of the sieve. Then, closing this vent in order to open another, another 

FIG. ;.— thp: magic bottle. 

quantity of wine will be introduced, and so on, whatever be the number of 
wines and that of the corresponding compartments of the vessel, A B. 

" Let us now see how each person in turn can draw his own wine out through 
the same neck. At the bottom of the vessel, A B, there are arranged tubes which 
start from each of the compartments, to wit: The tube, X'l'- fi'f»'n the com- 
partment, M; the tube oo <7, from X. and the tube A //, from B. The extrem- 
ities, ij\ 0, and //, of these tubes should communicate with another tube, (v, in 
which is accurately adjusted another, /i F, closed at A' at its lower extremity 
and having apertures to the right of the orifices, //•, ff, and //, so that such aper-' 
tares may, in measure, as the tube revolves, receive respectively the wine con- 
tained in each of the compartments and allow it to flow to the exterior through 
the orifice, /i, of the said tube, p F. To this tube is fixed an iron rod, S e, 
whose extremity, s, carries a lead weight, ?/. To the extremity, d, is fi.ved an 


iron pin supporting n small conicul cu]) whose concavity points upward. Let 
us therefore snpjiose this trnncated cone established, its wide base at 5, and 
its narrow one (through which the pin passes) at ^.* Again, one must have 
small leaden balls of different weiglits, and in number ecp;al to that of the 
compartments^ M, N, and ^. If the smallest be jilaced in the cup, ^ 6, it 
will descend on account of its weight until it applies itself against the internal 
surface of the cup, and it will be necessary to so arrange things that it may 
thus cause the tube, fiF, to turn so as to bring beneath //' that one of the 
apertures that corresponds to it, and that will thus receive the wine of the com- 
partment, M. This wine will then flow as long as the ball remains in the cup. 
If, now, the ball be removed, the weight, rj, in returning to its first joosition, 
will close the orifice, ?/', and stop the flow. If another ball be placed in the 
cup, a further inclination of the rod, e d, w^ill be produced, and the tube, 
ft r, will revolve further, so as to bring its corresponding aperture beneath ff. 
Then the wine contained in the compartment, N, will flow. If the ball be 
removed, the weight, r/, w^ill redesceud to its primitive place, the aperture, 0, 
will be closed, and the wine Avill cease to flow. Finally, upon placing the last 
ball (which is the heaviest), the tube, ft F, wall turn still more, so as to cause 
the flow of the wine contained in the compartment, H. 

" It must be remarked that the smallest of the balls should be so heavy that 
when placed in the cup it shall outweigh the weight, ?/, and consequently bring 
about the revolution of the tube, ft F. The other balls will then be suflficient 
to cause the revolution of the said tube." 


The hydraulic organ filled with its powerful voice the vast arenas in which 
the gladiators fought, and Petronius relates that Nero one day made a vow to 
play one of them himself in public if he escaped a danger that threatened 
him. The invention of them is attributed to Ctesibius. 

Fig. 1 gives a reproduction of one of these instruments as described by 
Heron in his ""Pneumatics." 

Let BJ bo an altar f of bronze containing water. Let there be in the 
latter an inverted hullow hemisphere, E Z II (called a damper), that allows the 
water to pass all arouiul its bottom, and from the top of which rise two tubes 
that communicate with the interioi'. One of these tubes. II K, is bent in the 
interioi' and communicates with a snuill invei'ted box. J NTT, the aperture of 
which is at the bottom, and the interior of whic^h is bored out so that it may 
receive a piston, PI, Avhich should fit very accurately so as to allow no air to 

* The text does not agree witli the figure given by the MSS. Moreover, there is an 
arrangfinent liore that it is difficult to understand from Heron's descrii)tion. 

f Altars ^vcre (cylindrical or S(juare ])<'d('stals, cliaracttM'izcd hy a cavity in the upper 
]ilatf(irMi, in which a lire was lighted. 

I'i'liis box performs here the office of a pump chamber. 



pass. To this piston is fixed a very strong rod, T y, with which is connected 
another rod, y 4>, movable around a pin at y.* This lever moves upon a fixed 
vertical rod, WX. Upon the bottom of the box, N 77, is placed another box, 
n, which communicates with the first, and -which is closed at the upper part 
by a cover that contains an aperture to allow of the passage of the air into the 
box, N 77. Under the aperture of this cover, and in order to close it, there 
is arranged a thin disk, held by means of four pins which pass through aper- 


tures in the disk;, and are provided with heads in order to hold it in place. 
This disk is called a iilatysmatira (Fig, 2). The other tube, Z Z', is carried by 
the hemisphere, E Z H, and ends in a transverse tube, A A',f upon Avhich rest 
pipes communicating with it and having at their extremities glossocomiums J 
that communicate with these pipes, and the orifices, B', of which are open. 
Across these orifices, covers provided with holes § slide in such a way that 
when they are pushed toward the interior of the organ their holes cor- 
respond to the orifices of the pipes (and to those of the tube A A'), and that 
Avheu they are pulled back, the pipes are closed, since there is no longer any 

* The figure shows anotlier arrangemeut. 

f Called a wind-cliest in modern organs. I Flute mouths. § Registers. 


If, now, the transverse rod, y 0, be lowered at ^, the piston, P 2, will rise 
and compress the air in the box, ^ 2 11, and such air will close the aperture 
of the small box through the intermedium of the platysmatim described 
above. It will then pass into E Z H by means of the tube, K H, then into the 
transverse tube A A', though the tube Z Z', and finally from the transverse 
tube into the pipes, if the orifices correspond to those of the covers, and this 
will occur when all the covers (or only a few of them) have been pushed 
toward the interior. 

In order that tlieir orifices may be open when it is desired to make certain 
pipes resound, and that they may be closed when it is desired to cause the 
sound to cease, the following arrangement is employed: Let us consider iso- 
lately one of the mouths placed at the extremity (Fig. 3). Let y d he this 
mouth, 6 its orifice, A A' the transverse tube, and ff the cover that is adapted 
and the aperture of which does not coincide with the apertures of the pijies at 

this moment. Let us now 
suppose a jointed arrange- 
ment composed of three rods, 
S, jA, and r, the rod, £ S, be- 
ing attached to the cover, ff, 
and the system as a whole 
moving around a pin, //. It 
will be seen that if we lower 
with the hand the extremity, 
V, of the system toward the 
orifice of the glossocomiums, 
we shall cause the cover to 
move toward the interior, and that, when it arrives there, its orifice will co- 
incide with the orifices of the pipes. In order that, upon removing the 
hand, the cover may be carried back toward the exterior and close all com- 
munication, an arrangement such as the following may be employed. 
Beneath a number of glossocomiums, there is established a bar equal in length 
to and parallel with the tube, A A', and to which are fixed strong curved 
plates of horn, such as y, placed opposite yS. A cord is fixed to the 
end of tliis ])hite and winds around the extremity, S, in such a way that when 
the cover is moved toward the exterior the cord shall be taut. If the extremity, 
K, then be lowered, and the register be thus pushed into the interior, the cord 
will draw upon the horn jHate, and by its force, right it. But as soon as the 
pressure ceases, the plate will resume its former position and draw the cover 
back in such a way as to prevent its orifice from establishing a communication. 
This arrangement being ado2:)ted for all the glossocomiums, it will be seen 
that in order to cause any one of the pipes to resound, it will suffice to depress 
the corresponding key with the finger. When, on the contrary, it is desired to 
cuiis(> tlic sound to cease, Ave shall merely have to lift tlu' linger, and the effect 
will l)e ])roduced l)y the motion of the cover. 

AVater is ])oured into the small altar in order that tlie compressed air that 





is driven from the box, N77, may, owing to the pressure of tlie liquid, be 
retained in the dandier, E Z H, and thus supply the pipes. AV' hen the piston, 
P 2, is raised, it therefore expels the air from the box into the damper, as has 
been explained. Then, when it is lowered, it opens the platysmatim of the 
small Iwx. By this means, the box, N 11, becomes filled with air from the exte- 
rior, which the piston, raised anew, drives again into the damper. 

It would be better to render the rod, Ty, immovable at T, around a pin, 
and fix at the bottom, P, of the piston a ring through which this pin would 
pass, so that tiie piston would have no lateral motion, but would rise and 
descend with exact perpendicularity. 

Porta, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, constructed at Xaples 
a hydraulic organ according to the arrangement just described. A few years 
afterward, in 1G45, Fatlier Kircher constructed another at Eome for Pope 
Innocent X. These organs had the defect of not preserving the note, but of 
giving a series of harmonies. On the other hand, they produced an exceedingly 
agreeable tremolo. It was probably these unusual variations in sound that 
charmed the ears of the Greeks and Romans. 

Heron afterwards describes a bellows organ, motion to which is communi- 
cated not by manual power, but by a windmill. Fig. 4 shows the arrange- 
ment with sufficient clearness to permit us to dispense with a description. It 
is interesting to reproduce, in that it carries the origin of windmills (which it 
is claimed were unknown to antiquity, because Altruvius and Yarro do not 
speak of them) back at least to the second century before our era. 



All works tliat treat of the history of the steam engine speak of the eoli- 
pileof Heron as the most ancient manifestation known of that power which 
to-day fills the world. But very few persons know that we also find in the 
" Pneumatics " of the Greek engineer the germs of the tubular boiler and of the 
Papin cock which has been replaced in modern engines by the long D-valve. 
Here, in the first place, is a literal translation of the two passages that have 
reference to the a2:)2)aratus, so often cited, of Heron : 

" Balls may he held in the air hy the following metliod : 

" Fire is lighted under a boiler that contains water and is closed at its 
npper part. From the cover starts a tube which rises vertically, and at the 
extremity of which a hollow hemisphere is in communication with it. On 
placing a light ball in this hemisphere it will happen that the steam, on rising 
through the tabe, will raise the ball in such a way that it will remain sus- 

" To cause the revolution of a sphere on a pivot hy means of a hoiler placed 
over a fire. 

"Let A B (Fig. 2f) be a boiler containing water and placed over a fire. 
It is closed by means of a cover, FA, Avhicli is traversed by a bent tube, E Z H, 
whose extremity, H, enters the hollow sphere, K, in the direction of the 
latter's diameter. At the other extremity is placed the pivot, AMN, which 
is fixed upon the cover, T A. There are added to the sphere, at the two 
extremities of one of its diameters, two tubes bent at right angles and perpen- 
dicular to the line, HN. AVheu the boiler is heated, the steam will pass 
through the tube, E Z H, into the small sphere, and, issuing through the bent 
tubes into tlie atmosphere, will cause it to revolve in situ.'''' 

The following apparatus, likewise described by Hei'on, but not so well 
known as those that preceded, shov/s that the ancients employed steam (mixed 
Avith hot air, it is true) for causing liquids to rise. According to Father 
Kircher, who reports it on the faith of an author iiamed Bitho, there was at 
Sais, Egypt, a temple dedicated to Minerva in which there was an altar upon 

*Fig. 1 is l)orrow(!(l from a MS. of the " Piicuinatics " datini,'- bark to tlie Renaissance. 
Tbe boiler should liave been r(q)resente(l over a lirei)Iace. 

f Tliis figure, likewise borrowed fruui a MS. of the Henuissance, is sulliciently clear to 
alhnv letters to be dispensed with. 



which, when a fire was lighted, Dionysius and Artemis (Bacchns and Diana) 
poured, one of tliera wine, and the other milk. 

The miracle was performed as follows: 

"' On lightiufj a Jire vpon an altar, Jifjures make libations and serj)ents 
hiss (Fig. 3).* 

" Let AB he a hollow pedestal upon which there is an altar, F, in whose 
iuterior there is a large tube, J E, that descends from the fireplace into the 
pedestal and divides into tliroe small tubes. One of the latter, E Z, runs to 
the serpent's mouth; another, Ell &, to a vessel, K J, suitable for containing 


FIG, 2.— heron's whirling EOLOPILE. 

wine, and the bottom of Avhich should be above the figure, ^l, as this tube has 
to be connected with the cover of the vessel, K J, by a grating; and the 
third tube, E N ~, rises likewise to a vessel, 0, suitable for receiving wine, and 
is connected in the same way with its cover. The two latter tubes are soldered 
to the bottoms of the vessels, and in each of these vessels there is a siphon, 
P 2 and T T. One extremity of each of these tubes dips into the wine, while 
the other, which ends in the hand of the figure that is to make the libation, 
traverses the side of the wine vessel. ATheu you Avish to light the fire, you will 
first put a little water into the tubes so that they shall not be burst by the 
dryness of the fire, and you Avill stop up all the apertures so that the air shall 
not escape. Then the blast from the fire, mixed with the water, will rise 
through the tubes up to thu gratings, and, passing through these, will press 

* The letters on the engraving are again dispensed with. 


upon the wine and cause it to flow tlirougli the siphons, P 2 and T T. The 
wine issuing thus from the hands of the figures, the latter will appear to make 
libations as long as the altar is burning. As for the other tube, which leads 
the blast to the serpent's moutli, it causes the latter to hiss." 


As regards the cock and the tubular boiler, we find these in a hot-water 
stove which Heron calls by the (Jra^co- Latin naine nnliarion, because of its 
resemblance to a milestone. 

Fig. 4 shows us, in the center, the lirephice in the shape of a vertical cvl- 



inder, which shouhl have beneath it an air vent that is not shown in the cut. 
All around this tliere is a boiler, likewise cylindrical, tilled witii water. A cer- 
tain number of tubes, such as K and M N, put its different parts in com- 
munication by passing through the fireplace, and thus increase the heating 

The cock, T, serves to let off hot water, and the funnel, '2, to introduce 
cold water into the boiler through a tube Avhicli runs to the bottom of the 
latter. The object of the bent tube is to allow of the escape of air when 

FIG. 4.— heron's tubular BOILER. 

water is poured in, and to give exit to the steam that nuiy be formed, and thus 
avoid the ejection of water through the funnel, '2. Heron, in his text, says that 
this tube debouches in the interior of the fuimel so that it shall not be per- 
ceived, and not as we have shown it for the sake of greater clearness. In the 
figure there may be seen a compartment formed by two vertical jilates that 
make an angle into Avhich water cannot enter. This is designed for actuating 
different figures through tlie play of the steam and of the several way cocks 
that I have mentioned. This latter consists of two concentric tubes capable of 
revolving with slight friction one within the other. The external tube, V J, 


is fixed to the upper side of the stove, and traverses it. It contains three aper- 
tures, q), f, and Xf pla;eed at diiJerent levels, and communicating, tlirongli 
small tubes, with the figures that are to be jiresently mentioned. The internal 
tube, A B, is open at its lower part, and thus communicates with the interior of 
the compartment, but is closed at its upper part, which latter debouches above 
the stove and may be manoeuvered by the handle, A. It contains tliree aper- 
tures at the same levels as apertures q), f, and j, but differently placed, so 
that when, through a rotary motion of the tube, A B, one of them is brought 
opposite an aperture of the same level in the tube, FA, the two others do not 
correspond. The positions that it is necessary to give them in order that such 
correspondences shall occur are denoted by marks engraved on the visible por- 
tions of the tubes. The tube, (p, terminates in a serpent's head which bends 
toward the firei3lace, and tube, '/', terminates in a triton who holds a trumpet 
to his mouth. Finally the tube, j, carries at its extremity a whistle that 
debouches in the body of a bird filled with water. 

It will now be seen what will occur. The tube, A B, is removed and a 
little water is put into the compartment. This water flows i-nto the tube, jIB 
(which passes under the fireplace and is closed at the side opposite its aper- 
ture, H), and is converted into steam. When the tube, A B, has been replaced, 
the steam may at will be passed into the body of tlie bird, which will warble, 
or into that of the triton, who will blow his trumpet, or, finally, into that of 
the serpent, which will blow into the fire and quicken the flames. 



The ancients utilized, in their prestiges, combustible gases, which, in many 
places, were disengaged naturally from the earth. 

The Arab Schiangia, in a passage quoted by Father Kircher, expresses him- 
self in this wise: 

"In Egypt there was afield whose ditches were full of pitch and liquid 
l)itumen. Philosophers, who understood the forces of nature, constructed 
canals which connected places like these with lamps hidden at the bottom of 
subterranean crypts. These lamps had wicks made of threads that could not 
burn. By this means the lamji, once liglited, burned eternally, because of 
the continuous influx of bitumen and the incombustibility of the wick." 

It is possible that it was to an artifice of this same nature that Avere due 
some of the numerous perpetual lamps that history has preserved a reminis- 
cence of, such as that which Plutarch saw in the temple of Jupiter Amnion, 
in Egypt, and that in the temple of Venus, which Saint Augustine could only 
explain as due to the intervention of demons. But the majority of them owed 
their peculiarity only to the precautions taken by the jiriests to feed them with- 
out being seen. It was only necessary, in fact, that the wick, which was made 
of asbestos threads or gold wire, should be kept intact, and that the body of 
the lamp should communicate with a reservoir placed in a neighboring apart- 
ment in such a way that the level of the oil should remain constant. Heron 
and Philo have left us descriptions of a certain number of arrangements that 
perniittted of accomplishing such an object. 

The same authors likewise point out different processes for manufacturing 
portable lamps in which the oil rises automatically. The most ingenious one 
is that which is at the present day known under the name of "' Heron's Foun- 
tain." * 

The following is the Alexandrine engiueer's text: 

" Construction of a candelabrum such that upon placing a lamp thereon, 
there comes up through the handle, when the oil is consumed, any quantity 

* In 1801, Carcel and Carreau applied Heron's system to lamps without, perhaps, know- 
ing that they were thus returning to the primitive apparatus. 


that may be wished, and tliat, too, without there being any need of placing 
above it any vessel serving as a reservoir for tlie oil. 

"A hollow candelabra must be made, with a base in the shape of a jiyra- 
mid. Let AB /" J be such pyramidal base, and in this let there be a parti- 
tion, EZ. Again, let H O be the stem of the candelabrum, which should also 
be hollow. Above, let there be placed a vessel, K A, capable of containing a 

large quantity of oil. From the parti- 
tion, EZ, there starts a tube, M N, which 
traverses it and reaches almost to the 
cover of the vessel, K A, upon which lat- 
ter is placed the lamp in such a way as to 
allow only a passage for the air. Another 
tube, H 0, passes through the cover and 
runs down, on the one hand, to the bot- 
tom of the vessel, TLA, in such a way that 
the liquid may be capable of flowing, and 
on the other, forms a slight projection on 
the cover. To this projection there is 
carefully adjusted another tube, 77, which 
is provided with a stopper at its upper 
part, and, traversing the bottom of the 
lamp and united with it, is wholly in- 
closed within the interior of the lamp. 
To the tube, II, there is soldered another 
and very fine one which communicates 
with ifc and reaches the extremity of the 
lamp handle. This tube debouches in 
the latter in such a way that its contents 
may empty into the lamp, the orifice of 
which is of the usual size. Under the 
partition, EZ, there is soldered a cock 
that enters the compartment, FA 'E^Ta, in 
such a way that wdien it is open the 
water from the chamber, A B E Z, may 
pass into tlie compartment, /^ zJ E Z. 
Through the upper })late, A B, there is 
pierced a small hole, through which the compartment, ABEZ, may be filled 
with water, the air within escaping through the same aperture. 

" Fict us now remove the lamp and fill the vessel with oil by the aid of the 
tul)e, H 0. The air will escape through the tube, M N, and afterward through 
a cock which is open near the bottom, rA, when the water has flowed out 
from the compartment, 7^Z/EZ. Let us place the lamp upon its base, con- 
necting it at the same time with tlie tube, 77. When it becomes necessary to 
pour oil into it, we will open the cock near the partition, E Z. The water 
that is in the compartment, 7'z/ EZ, as well as tlie air therein, being forced 



through the tube, M N, into the vessel, will cuuse the oil to rise and pass into 
the lamp through the tube, H 0, and the one that forms a continuation of it. 
When it is desired to cause the oil to stop coining over, the cock is closed, 
when the flow will cease. This may be repeated as often as may be necessary." 
Such was, perhaps, Plato's lamp, of which Athen^eus speaks in the *' Ban- 
quet of the Sophists," and by means of which the illustrious philosopher was 
enabled to have a light for himself during the longest nights in the 3'ear. 


In his " Spiritalia " (written about 150 B.C.) Heron describes several auto- 
mata of which figures of birds form a part; but perhaps the most remarkable 
for its ingenious simplicity is No. 44, the illustration of whicii we reproduce. 

The descrijition of this, as given by Heron, is somewhat meager and unsatis- 
factory, but the drawing is so very plain that, taken in connection with other 
mechanism in his work, operated in a similar way, it is easy to understand how 
the desired result was accomjilished. 

An air-tight box of metal was provided, which was divided into four com- 
partments, 1, 2, 3, 4, by horizontal diaphragm plates. On the top of this box 
was a basin, 0, for receiving the water of a fountain. Around this basin were 
four birds. A, B, C, D, perched upon branches or shrubs, which api:)arently 
grew out of the top of the box. Each of these branches was hollow, and 
communicated with one of the compartments already named, by one of the 
pipes, 9, 10, 12, and 13, which passed bat a very short distance through the 
tops of the several compartments. The bodies of the birds were also hollow, 
and were connected Avith the hollow branches by tubes in their legs. In the 
hollow body of each bird were two musical reeds or whistles of different note. 
One of these would sound when air was forced outward through the beak of 
the bird, and the other would only respond to air drawn inward. This alter- 
nate action of the air, and consequent variation of note, was produced by the 
peculiar way in which the water supplied by the fountain was made to pass 
through the several compartments. 

The water from the basin, 0, entered compartment 1 near its bottom by 
the pipe 11, and as it rose in the compartment, it compressed the air above it, 
which escaped through the beak of the bird, A, and caused its first note to 
sound; but when the w^ater reached the top of the bend of the siphon 5, it at 
once began to discharge by that siphon into compartment 2 ; but as the 
siphon 5 was so proportioned that it discharged the water much faster than 
it was supplied by pipe 11, the level of the w'ater in compartment 1 gradu- 
ally fell, and the air in passing into this compartment tli rough the beak of the 
bird, A, caused its second note to sound. As the water rose in compartment 
2, it compressed the air above it, wdiich passed by the pipe 10, to the bird, B, 
which then sounded its first note, while the bird, A, was sounding its second, 


aud this state of affairs continued until all of the water was discharged from 
the compartment 1, and compartment 2 was filled to the top of the bend of 
siphon 6, which then began to discharge into compartments; and as siphon 

5 had ceased to operate, the water 
gradually fell in contpartment 2, 
and the air entering by the beak 
of the bird, B, sounded its second 
note. While this was taking 
]ilace, compartment 1 was again 
filling, and the first note of bird, 
A, sounding; and compartment 
3 was also filling, and the air above 
the water therein was being forced 
by the pipe 12 into the bird, C, 
and causing its first note to sound. 
By following out the opera- 
tions described, and tracing the 
action of the flux and reflux of the 
•water in the compartments 3 and 
4, it will readily be seen that the 
bird, C, will sound its second note 
Avhen the compartment 3 is being 
discharged by siphon 7 into com- 
partment 4, and at the same time 
the bird, D, will sound its first 
note, and that eventually the 
water will escape from the autom- 
aton by the siphon 8, causing the 
second note of the bird, D, to be 
It is evident that by simple and well-known means any or all of the bird 
notes can be made to trill, and that it is only necessary to properly proportion 
the discharging capacity of the siphons to insure the rejietition and admixture 
of the notes in a bird-like manner; and it is further evident that the employ- 
ment of tlie iileas involved is not of necessity confined to but four birds, as 
several birds, each having different notes, might be operated from the same 
compartment, and of course as many compartments as may be wished can be 
used. Furthermore, the wings of the birds could be made to move, and their 
beaks to open and shut, by the movement of the same air which acted upon 
the musical reeds or wliistles. 

Each of the siphons in the automaton was intermittent in its action, ceas- 
ing to flow when its compartment was emptied, and beginning again spon- 
taneously when the Avater reached the level of the top of its bend. The 
antifpiity of intermittent siphons is of special interest from the fact of their 
eom])aratively recent application in sanitary plumbing. 

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('haucer was not much in error as regards his own time (1328-1400), and 
his words are only somewhat less true to-day: 

'' For out of the okl fiekles, as men saithe, 
Cometli al this new corne fro yere to yere; 
And out of old hookes, in good faithe, 

Cometh all this new science that men lere." 


Upon a pedestal there is fixed a small tree around which is coiled a dragon. 
A figure of Hercules stands near by, shooting with a bow, and there is an 
apple lying upon the pedestal. If this apple be lifted from the latter, Hercules 
will shoot his arrow at the dragon, and the latter will hiss. 

Mechanism of the Toy. — Let A B be the water-tight pedestal under con- 
sideration, j^rovided with a diaphragm, F J. To this latter there is fixed a 
small, hollow, truncated cone whose apex jjoints toward the bottom of the 
vessel, and from which it is just sufficiently distant to permit the water to pass. 
To this cone there is adjusted with care another one, G, which is fixed to a 
chain that, passing through an aperture, connects it with the apple. Hercules 
holds a small horn bow, whose string is stretched and laced at a proper distance 
from the right hand. The left hand is provided with a detent. To the ex- 



tremity of this latter there is fixed a small chain or a cord that traverses the 
top of the pedestal, passes over a pulley fixed to the diaphragm, and con- 
nects with the small chain that joins the cone with the apple. This cord 
passes through the hand and body into the interior of Hercules. A small 
tube, one of those used for whistling with, starts from the diaphragm, rises 
through the top of the pedestal, and passes into the interior of the tree or 
around it. 

Now, if the apple, K, be raised, the cone, O, will be raised at the same time, 
the cord, X0, will be tightened, the catch will be freed, and this will cause the 
arrow to shoot. The water in the compartment A 7', running into the com- 
partment B r, will drive out the air contained in the latter, through the tube, 
and produce a hissing. The apple being replaced, the cone, O, will adjust 
itself against the other, stop the flow, and thus cause the hissing to cease. 
The arrow and its accessories will then be adjusted anew. 

When the compartment B J^ is fidl, it is emptied by means of a spout pro- 
vided with a key, and A J is again filled as we have indicated. 


The optical delusion known as the talking decapitated person has already 
been described in Book I., Chapter I., of the present work. The ancients 
invented an analogous trick, but one that was founded upon a very ingenious 
mechanical combination. This is found described at the end of Heron's 
"Pneumatics," under the title, "To cut an animal in two and make him 
drink. " It is as follows : 

" Let us suppose a hollow pedestal, A B C D, divided in its center by a dia- 
phragm, EF. Above the pedestal there is fixed a statuette representing a 
horse and traversed by a tube, M N, which terminates on the one hand in the 
horse's mouth, and in the other in the upper part of the compartment, 
A B E F, after following one of the legs. It will be conceived, in the first 
place, that if the said com])artment be filled with water through an aperture, 
T, which is afterwards stopped up, and that then a cock be opened, so as to 
form a communication between the upper compartment and the lower (which 
latter is itself provided with an open air-hole), the water will flow, and, in 
doing so, tend to cause a vacuum in the tube, MN, so that Avlien a vessel of 
water is brought near the animal's mouth the water will be sucked up. 

" If the cock be so arranged as to present its key upon the top of the pedes- 
tal, and if to the key there be adapted a statuette representing a man armed 
witli a club, things may be so arranged that the animal shall drink when the 
man has his back turned, for example, and that he shall stop drinking when 
the man threatens him with the club. 

" The following is the way in which a knife may be passed through the ani- 
mal's neck without causing the head to fall or interrupting communication 



between the mouth and pedestal. The head and body form two distinct 
pieces, Avhich are adjusted according to the plane, P (Figs. 1, 2, and 3). 
The tube, M N, is interrupted to the right of this slit, and the two parts of it 
are connected by a snuiller tube, aft, which enters by slight friction into the 
interior of each of them; and to this small tube, aft, there are fixed two 
racks, 6 and e. Above S and under e are placed two segments of toothed 
wheels, n and p, which are movable around axles fixed in the body of the ani- 
mal. Over the whole there is a third wheel, which is likewise movable around 

heron's decapitated drinking horse. 

an axle fixed in the animal's body, and the thickness of which keeps increasing 
from the centre to the circumference. This wheel is cut out into three parts 
of circles, /^, v, and B, which have for diameters three of the sides of the 
inscribed hexagon. It is inclosed in the neck in such a way that the circular 
cavity containing it embraces just four of the sides of the inscribed hexagon, 
the two other sides projecting outside of the plane, P. In the piece that 
forms the head a circular cavity is formed capable of containing this projecting 
portion of the wheel, and a wedge-shaped profile is given it, so that when one 
tooth of the wheel, G, is engaged therein by the edge, it can also only leave it 
by the edge. Let us now suppose the wheel, G, free; let us engage one of its 
teeth in the cavity, xt\ let us cause the head and body to approach; let us 
fix the wheel, ff, in the body by means of the movable axle traversing it; and 
let us introduce a knife into the slit, P, and see what will happen. 

" The blade, on entering the space, B, will press against one of the teeth, 
and cause it to descend until it, as well as the knife, is disengaged. The tooth 
above the space, B, will then be disengaged in its turn and connect the head 


with the body again. The knife-blade, which is now under the wheel, ff, rests 
on the inclined plane that the figure shows in the segment, tt, and, on press- 
ing thereupon, causes the wheel to turn, and with it the rack, 6, and the tube, 
aft, which latter leaves the tube, M, and gives passage to the blade between it 
and the extremity, a. Then the blade comes in contact with tbe lower pro- 
jection of the sector, p, which has been carried upward by the motion of the 
rack, e, that is connected with the rack, 6. On pressing against such pro- 
jection the blade causes the segment, p, to revolve in a contrary direction, 
brings e toward the left, and causes the small tube, a ji, to enter anew the 
tube, M. Communication between -M and N is thus reestablished." 

M. de Roclias has never found elsewhere than in the " Pneumatics " a descrip- 
tion of this system of toothed wheels, although he has read the majority of 
books treating of this class of ideas. The description given by Heron is itself 
so confused and so mutilated, and the figure that accompanies it is so incom- 
plete, that in all the Latin editions it is suppressed as incomprehensible. 





In the inventory of tlie objects sold after the death of the Emperor Corn- 
modus, drawn up by Julius C'apitoliniis in the life of Pertinax, we find men- 
tioned, among other valuable things, "' vehicles that mark distances and 

Vitruvius (X, 14) describes the mechanism of these vehicles, but the fig- 
ures that must have served to throw light upon the text have been lost, so that 
his description is somewhat obscure. Fortunately, as a sequel to a manuscript 
of the Dioptra of Heron, there have been found two Greek fragments upon 
this same subject, dating back probably to the Alexandrine epoch and accom- 
panied with figures. The following is a translation, says M. de Rochas: 

To Measure Distances upon the Surface of the Earth by Means 
OF AN Apparatus called an Odometer. 

Provided with this instrument, instead of being obliged to measure land 
slowly and laboriously with the chain or cord, it is possible in traveling in a 
vehicle to know the distances made, according to the number of revolutions of 
the wheels. Others, it is true, have, previous to us, made known certain 
methods of accomplishing the same object; but every one will be able to decide 
between the instrument described here by us and those of our predecessors. 

Let us imagine an apparatus in the form of a box (Fig. 1) in which is con- 
tained the entire machine that we are to describe. Upon the bottom of the 
box rests a copper face wheel, A B, having, say, eight teeth. In the bottom 
there is an opening in which a rod, fixed to the hub of oue of the wheels of 

FIG. L— hekok's odometer k()){ vehicles. 


the vehicle and engaging at every revohitiou, pnshes forward one of the teeth, 
Avhich is replaced by the following one, and so on indefinitely. Whence it 
results that when the wheel of the vehicle has made eight revolutions, the face 
wheel will have made one. Now, to the center of the latter there is fixed per- 
pendicularly, by one of its extremities, a screw which, by its other extremity, 
engages with a crosspiece fixed to the sides of the box. This screw gears with 
the teeth of a wheel whose plane is perpendicular to the bottom of the box. 
This wheel is provided with an axle whose extremities pivot against the sides of 
the box. A portion of this axle is jirovided with spirals formed in its sur- 
face, so that it becomes a screw. ^Yitll this screw there gears a toothed wheel 
parallel with the bottom of tlie box. To this wheel is fixed an axle, one of 
the extremities of which pivots npon the bottom, while the other enters 
the crossjiiece fixed to the sides; and this axle likewise carries a screw that 
gears with the teeth of another wheel placed perpendicular to the bottom. 
This arrangement may be continued as long as may be desired, or as long as 
there is space in the box; for the moi'e numerous are the wheels and screws, 
the longer will be the route that one will be able to measure. 

In fact, every screw, in making one revolution, causes the motion of one 
tooth of the Avheel with which it gears; so that the screw carried by the face 
wheel, in revolving once, indicates eight revolutions of the wheel of the vehicle, 
while it moves only one tooth of the wheel u]3on which it acts. So, too, the 
said toothed wheel, in making one revolution, will cause the screw fixed to its 
plane to make one revolution, and a single one of the teeth of the succeeding 
wheel will be thrust forward. Consequently, if this new wheel has again thirty 
teeth (and this is a reasonable number), it will, in making one revolution, indi- 
cate 7,200 revolutions of the wheel of the vehicle. Let us suppose that the 
latter is ten cubits in circumference, and this would be 72,000 cubits, that is 
to say, 180 furlongs. This applies to the second toothed wheel. If there are 
others, and if the number of teeth likewise increases, the length of the journey 
that it will be possible to measure will increase proportionally. But it is 
well to make use of an apparatus so constructed tiiat the distance which it will 
be able to indicate does not much exceed that which it is possible to make in 
one day with the vehicle, since one can, after measuring the day's route, begia 
anew for the following route. 

This is not all. As one revolution of each screw does not correspond with 
mathematical accuracy and precision to the escapement of one tooth, we shall 
in an express experiment cause the first screw to revolve until the wheel that 
gears with it has made one revolution, and shall count the number of times 
that the wheel will have revolved. Let us sup])ose, for example, that it has 
revolved twenty times wliile the adjacent wheel has made a single revolution. 
This wheel has thirty tooth; therefore, twenty revolutions of tiie face wheel 
correspond to thirty teeth of the toothed Avheel moved by the screw. On 
the other hand, tlic twenty revolutions allow UK) ieotli of the face Avheel to 
escape, and this makers a like number of rev(jlutions of the wlu^el of the vehi- 
cle, that is to say, 1,G00 cubits; consequently, a single tooth of the preced- 


ing wheel iutlicates 53 1 cubits. Thus, for example, when, in starting from 
the origin of the motion, the toothed wheel will have revolved by fifteen teeth, 
this will indicate 800 cubits, say two furlongs; upon this same wheel we shall 
therefore write b'^\^ cubits. Making a similar calculation for the other toothed 
wheels, we shall write upou each one of them the number that corresponds to 
it. In this way, after we ascertain how many teeth each has moved forward, 
we shall know by the same the distance that we have traveled. 

Now, in order to be able to determine the distance traveled without having 
to open the box in order to see the teeth of each wheel, we are going to show 
how it is possible to estimate the length of the route by means of an index 
placed upon the external faces. Let us admit that tlie toothed wheels of which 
we have spoken are so arranged as not to touch the sides of the box, but that 
their axles project externally and are squared so as to receive indexes. In this 
way the v;heel, in revolving, will cause its axle with its index to turn, and the 
latter will describe upon the exterior a circle that we shall divide into a number 
of parts equal to that of the teeth of the interior wheel. The index should 
have a length sufficient to describe a circumference greater than that of the 
wheel, so that sucli circumference may be divided into parts wider than the 
interval that separates the teeth. This circle should carry the number already 
marked upon the interval wheel. By this means Me shall see upon the external 
surface of the box the length of the trip made. Were it impossible to pre- 
vent the friction of the wheels against the sides of the box, for one reason or 
another, it would then be necessary to file them off sufficiently to prevent the 
apparatus from being impeded in its operation in any way. 

Moreover, as some of the toothed wheels are perpendicular to and others 
parallel with the bottom of the box, so, too, the circles described by the indexes 
will be some of them upon the sides of the box and others upon the top. 
Consequently, it will be necessary to so manage that the side that carries no 
circle shall serve as a cover; or, in other words, that the box shall be closed 

Another engineer, probably Graeco-Latin, since he expresses distances some- 
times in miles and sometimes in stadia, has pointed out an arrangement of a 
different system for measuring the jirogress of a ship. 

We shall describe this apparatus, which we illustrate in Fig. 2. 

Let A B be a screw revolving in its supports. Let us suppose that its 
thread moves a wheel. A, of 81 teeth, to which is fixed another and parallel 
wheel, E (a pinion), of nine teeth. Let us suppose that this pinion gears with 
another wheel, Z, of 100 teeth, and that to the latter is fixed a pinion, H, of 
18 teeth. Then let us suppose that this pinion gears with a third wheel, 0, 
of 72 teeth, which likewise is provided with a pinion, K, of 18 teeth, and again 
that this pinion engages with a wheel, yl, of 100 teeth, and so on; so that 
finally the last wheel carries an index so arranged as to indicate the number 
of stadia traveled. 

On the other hand, let us construct a star wheel. M, whose perimeter is five 
paces. Let us suppose it perfectly circular and affixed to the side of a vessel 


in such a way as to have, upon the surface of the water, a velocity equal to 
that of the vessel. Let us suj^pose, besides, that, at every revolution of the 
wheel, M, there advances, if possible, one tooth of A. It is clear, then, that 
at every distance of 100 miles made by the vessel the Avheel, A, will make one 
revolution; so that, if a circle concentric with the wheel, A, is divided into 
100 parts, the index fixed to yl will, in revolving upon this circle, mark the 
number of miles made by the number of the degrees. 

Odometers, like so many other things, have been reinvented several times, 
notably in 1662 by a member of the Royal Society of London, and in 1724 bv 
Abbot Meynier. 






It would be difficult to find anyone who would not like to go behind the 
curtain of a great opera house to see how realism is given to the performance, 
and, incidentally, to gain an insight into that mysterious world upon the stage 
which always has such an attraction to opera-goers. Before describing in 
detail the commodious stage of the ^Metropolitan Opera House, New York 
City,* we will consider for a moment a typical English stage which is the pre- 
decessor of most stages in America. America is unfortnnate in having so few 
really great opera houses, so that the description of the English stage will 
answer for most of the theaters and opera houses, with the exception of the 
^Metropolitan Opera House and the Auditorinm in Chicago, both of which 
have features of interest. For our descrijition of the English form of theater 
stage we are largely indebted to a series of papers by Mr. Edwin 0. Sachs, 
architect, in the London "'Engineering," beginning January 17, 189G, and 
appearing at irregular intervals for a year and a half. This valuable series is 
most ])rofusely illustrated, and forms a treatise of great value. Mr. Sachs 
has written other works on opera houses. In this connection may be men- 
tioned the French work " Trues et Decors,'''' by M. Georges Moynet, architect. 
This book is of rather more popular interest than the series of ^[r. Sachs. It 
describes the ordinary equipment of the stage, but includes the obtaining of 
special effects on a large scale. The modern adjuncts of the theater stage, 
such as hydraulic platforms and bridges, are not neglected. Many of the illu- 
sions which are illustrated in the present work are described in it, and at least 
one of them appeared first, we believe, in the "Scientific American." 

Before describing the ordinary English stage and that of the ^Eetropolitan 
Opera llonse, a few generalities are in order. The audience really sees a very 
small proportion of the stage, for behind the cnrtaiu is an enormous rectangu- 

* The editor is indebted for courtesies to Mr. William Parry, stage manager of the Metro- 
politan Opera House ; to Mr. C. D. McGielian, the stage machinist ; to Mr. Edward Siedle, 
the property master ; and to Mr. Stewart, the electrician. 


lar structure which is usually much higher than the roof of the auditorium. 
This great height is rendered necessary in order to raise the hanging scenes up 
bodily without resorting to the necessity of rolling them up. Great space 
is also needed for the ropes, pulleys, and other mechanism used for working 
the curtains, drop scenes, and borders. Everything above the arch of the 
proscenium is termed the " flies." The stage proper is the rectangular plat- 
form upon which the drama is given. Its width is usually regulated by the 
width of the sj)ace devoted to the orchestra. Tliere is considerable sjiace at 
each side of the stage for workiug space. It is here that the '' wiug " or " side " 
scenes are stored for the various scenes of the opera, and it is here that the 
singers and the ballet wait before going before the curtain, through the so- 
called "entrances" into which the depth of the stage is divided, the number 
of entrances depending upon the number of wings. 

The floor of the stage runs from the footlights to the rear wall of the build- 
ing, but usually the last few feet of the stage are not utilized by the perform- 
ers, as the scenery is usually painted there in what is called the "paint room." 
It is here that a platform, called the "paint bridge," was formerly raised 
or lowered, giving access to all parts of the canvas which was being jiainted. 
But now the paint frames are usually run up and down, while the bridge remains 
stationary. The stage is divided widthwise into sections, and these sections of 
the stage floor can be raised or lowered as desired, and it is also arranged so 
that scenes, or portions of scenes, may be dropped down through the floor. As 
the scenes raised upwards have to be taken out of sight, the scenes which 
are lowered below the stage floor have likewise to disappear from the view 
of the audience. This results in deep cellars under the stage. The cellar 
should, of course, be as high as the proscenium aperture through which 
the audience views the scene; but this is often impossible, and various means 
are employed to give a great depth to the cellar. This is sometimes man- 
aged by raising the orchestra, or pit, above the ground, but this is ajittomake 
the theater unpopular with those who jxitronize the galleries, as it necessitates 
a greater climb; and if the orchestra is depressed below the street level, it 
requires that the cellar shall be sunk in so much further. This increases 
tlie difficulty of drainage, and the presence of water may be a constant source 
of annoyance. 

We will now describe a typical wooden stage of the English type. England 
is the home of excellent stage management, and an English property master is 
known all over the world by the excellence of his work. In England large 
sums are spent on costly productions, and the arrangements which are provided 
when the stage is built permit of lightning changes, which are so popular 
there. In this country the question of expense prevents such elaborate fittings 
as those in England, There are, of course, important exceptions to this rule. 
In the commoner English and American stages there has been so little prog- 
ress that Mr. Sachs notes the fact that there is little difference between "the 
ordiiuiry London stage of 1805 and tlie stages of 1750," One reason that the 
theatei's on the continent of Europe have such excellent stages — stages in 



which the ability of the architect and engineer are taxed to the utmost — is 
that they are very largely assisted by subventions from either the government 
or the municipalities ; so it is little wonder, then, that we have so many splendid 
examples of the most modern stages in Europe. In tlie present chapter the 
word "theater" maybe considered to mean eitiier a theater for the spoken 
drama or an opera house. 

The top of the stage is known as the "rigging-loft," or "gridiron," and 
consists of a wooden or iron stage composed of an open floor laid upon the tie- 
beams of the principal roof trusses. A considerable weight has to be supported 


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upon this gridiron, for from it depend all the "cloths" (drops), "borders," 
and "gas battens." The strength of the roof is, therefore, calculated so as 
to sustain this great weight. In some continental theaters there are two grid- 
irons. The gridiron is also called the rigging-loft on account of the fact that 
the scenes are "rigged up " by ropes from this floor. The scenes are raised 
and lowered from this level by means of ropes passing through the spaces in 
the floor, over blocks witli wheels in them, on to the drum, and thence down 
to the "fly floors" below. 

Our engravings show the upper and the uudev side of the gridiron of 
the Castle Square Theater, in Boston, Mass. This gridiron has some inter- 
esting features not possessed by the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, 


which will be described a little fnrther on, as at the Metropolitan Opera House 
there are no Avindlasses ou the gridiron. The windlasses are used to raise 
heavy weights suspended from the gridiron, and are of the greatest possible 
use iu aerial ballets and other theatrical performances. It will be seen that 
the gridiron is in reality nothing but a slatted floor supported by iron 
girders. The ropes will be seen passing over the pulleys to where they descend, 
at regular intervals, to raise the drops. Our secoiul engraving shows the under 
side of the gridiron, and the drops and borders which are suspended from 


it. It gives an excellent idea of the maze of ropes which hang from the grid- 

The flies consist of galleries, on both sides of the stage, running from tlie 
proscenium wall to the back wall. The "fly rail " consists of a girder made 
especially strong, to talce the weiglit and ])ull of the ropes and scenes which are 
brought down from the gridiron. Each cloth or gas batten hung from the 
gridiron has four or five ropes by which it hangs, and these are all brought 
over the jjiilloys in the gridiron floor down to the flies, where they are made 
fast on belaying-])ins or cleats fixed to the fly rail. The "fly floor" is sup- 
ported by joists running from the fly-rail girder into the wall of the stage. 


On the fly floor are often placed windlasses used to raise the heavy weights 
which are suspended from the gridiron. The load is usually relieved by 
counterweights which are placed agaijist the wall. The counterweights are 
usually encased, to minimize the danger of accident in case the rope breaks. 
The " fly galleries " are usually two tiers in nnmber, but in very large theaters 
there are often three tiers of fly galleries, one above the other. Nearly all the 
working of the flies is done from one side of the stage. The flies are often 
connected by a bridge against the back wall of the stage, and sometimes there 
are intermediate narrow bridges among the scenery. These enable the ''fly 
men" to cross the stage quickly without necessitating their coming down to 
the level of the stage. In modern stages of the better class, iron and steel con- 
struction is very largely used for the gridiron, flies, etc., and, of course, tends 
to decrease the danger from fire. 

Nearly all of the older stage floors fall three-eighths to one-half inch in a 
foot, from the back to the front, in order to enable the audience to see the 
actor or singer as he retires " up " the stage; but in modern stages the floors 
are usually level, as then the scenery can be set plumb. The divisions of the 
stage are numerous, and include the imaginary divisions called for by the 
stage directions, and the actual divisions of the stage into '"traps," "sliders," 
and "bridges." The imaginary divisions need not concern us here. 

In the front and center of the stage is a trap called the "grave trap," on 
account of its use in the grave scene of " Hamlet." It is a small wooden plat- 
form made to rise up and down in grooves between four uprights. The stage 
may have other traps. The trap as an aid in stage illusions is referred to in 
Chapter IV. of Book III. of the present work. 

In ordinary stages the traps are floored over, and before they can be 
used a portion of the floor of the stage has to be removed. This is done by 
releasing a lever and letting the section of the floor drop into a groove and 
slide under the immovable parts at the side of the stage. The opening left in 
the stage is filled by the floor of the ascending trap. Back of the grave 
trap there are three narrow^ strips of openings which are technically called 
" sliders," then a wider opening which is known as the " bridge." The rest of 
the stage is taken up by alternate bridges and sliders. The sliders consist of 
narrow strips of Avood which are made to slide horizontally^ right and left, 
under the stage. They slide in grooves cut in the joists, and are moved 
backwards and forwards by means of ropes which Avind around windlasses 
which are operated from the mezzanine floor underneath the stage. A\'hen both 
sliders are slid away right and left, the open space in the floor and the space 
underneath is known /is the " cut," and it is in the " cut " that the scenery is 
placed which is to be raised \\]} from below. Scenes are raised up the 
"slider cuts" by means of lengths of wood sliding up and down in grooves 
forming very wide and narrow elevators. The scene is attached to the lower 
bar. The floor of the bridge is like the slider floor in construction; the only 
difference is in the width of the opening left in the stage Avhen the section 
of the floor has been removed. To fill this space a platform of the same dimen- 


sions as the opening winch is left in the stage where the bridge is removed is 
used. The bridge is used to raise bodily any heavy scene, furniture, or a group 
of figures, but it only raises its load level with the stage, while some of the 
\le^^[ hydraulic bridges, or the counterbalanced rising bridge, wliich we will 
shortly describe, permit of lifting the part of the scene to any height. There 
have recently been many reforms in this part of stage management. The 
level underneath the stage floor is known as the mezzanine floor. This is the 
working level for all the traps, sliders, and bridges, and it is on this level that 
all the windlasses are placed which work the ropes to remove the sliders, 
bridges, etc. The mezzanine takes the same position regarding the manipula- 
tion of the stage machinery below as does the fly gallery above. In some cases 
the mezzanine floors are multiplied so that there are three or four. The 
lowest level of the stage is known as the " cellar," or '' well." From the 
cellar spring the uprights which support the joists of the stage floor. At the 
bottom of the cellar are placed the drums and shafts used for lifting the 
bridges. In many theaters there is what is known as the '"back stage." It 
has no movable portion, no gridiron, flies, or cellar. This space is most 
useful for distant scenes. In the finest stages, as that of the Vienna Court 
Theater, the entire cellar is constructed of iron and steel, and everything is 
worked by hydraulic power. Scenes are not only raised np from the cellar 
and let down from the gridiron, but are also " bnilt np " on the stage. Such 
scenes may be only small "profile strips," or they may be large constructions 
like a throne, in which the heavy foundations called "rostrums" run in on 
wheels. Where the run of the opera is to be long, sometimes they are built 
at great expense and are very ingenious; but they always take up considerable 
room, and require time to adjust. 

In continental theaters what is called the "chariot and jjole " is largely 
used. Narrow slits in the stage permit of an upright pole jiassing through it, 
the scene being fastened to it. The truck, or "chariot," which supj)orts the 
pole runs on the floor of the mezzanine on rails. This manner of shifting 
the scenes is sometimes very useful. The chariots can be worked singly or in 
gangs, and they can be worked simultaneously Avith the borders and the drops, 
as the ropes which manipulate them can all be brought under the control of one 
drum or windlass. 

Having now described a stage of the ordinary variety, we will take up a 
large stage built on conservative lines. The stage of the Metropolitan Opera 
House is one hundred aiid one feet wide, and the depth is eighty-four feet. 
The height from the stage to the gridiron is ninety feet, to the first fly 
gallery thirty-six feet, and the depth of the cellar is twenty-eight feet. 
The stage is divided widthwise into four l)i'i(lge.s which run entirely across 
the stage. Each bridge is divided into four parts, so there are really sixteen 
working bridges. The wings, or side scenes, are held in place by means 
of sliding scene posts. The general method of securing the side scenes by 
scene frames and extension braces will be understood l)y reference to the 
engravings' in the chapter entitled "Fireworks with Dramatic Accessories," 

HKtllXD Ttttl f^CES'P.S Op AX OPERA TlOVSiP. 2ot 

ill the present work. When not in, the wings for the opera are temjio- 
rarily piled against the side of tlie house. At eacli side of the stage are liuge 
scene-rooms. The stage proper is supported ujion an iron framework, and 
there are tliree mezzanine floors, though one only is used. AYhen it is desired 
to raise any part of the stage above the level in order to represent broken 
ground, or for what is called a "runway," or for any other purpose, a narrow 
trap door is lifted and a man at each end of the bridge raises it up to the 
desired height. The bridges can be raised to a height of twenty-three feet. 
They are counterweigh ted, so that it requires very little effort to raise them. 

^^^ — 1 ^ F 


It is considered that with this system the stage can be worked about as well 
and quickly as iu the far more elaborate hydraulic stages, as those of Buda- 
Pesth and Chicago; certainly the simplicity of arrangement is a point in its 
favor, and, being jnirely mechanical, it is not liable to break down at a critical 
moment. The simple bridges are not favored by all stage machinists, however. 
The wing posts slide up and down through the floor and di-op down ibish into 
it. They are at the ends of the bridges. 

In the Metropolitan Opera House no use is made of the cellar for raising 
up the scenes, as they find it more satisfactory to operate the scenes from 
overhead, and nothing of the London pantomime order is done. The cellar is 



valuable, however, for storage puri)oses. Going up several flights of stone 
stairs, the visitor arrives at the first fly gallery. Here, as in the other parts 
of the house, every precaution is taken to guard against fire. The floor is of 
cement resting upon iron girders, and the visitor is at once struck with the 
solidity of everything. On each side of the fly gallery is a large iron pipe 
throngh which passes at freqnent intervals a series of belaying-pins to which 
are secnred the ropes. All of the drops and borders, as well as the curtain, 


are worked from the left fly gallery. In theatrical parlance, a scene which is 
lowered to the stage is called a '"drop/' while the scenes which represent the 
sky are called "borders." The drops at the Metropolitan measure forty-five 
by seventy feet. The painted canvases, whether drops or borders, are se- 
cnred at the top. The canvas is hemmed so as to permit of a wooden pole, or 
batten, being thrust through it. This bar is secured by means of clamps to 
the ropes which are to raise the scenes or drops. At the very top of the 
building, underneath the roof, is what is called the gridiron. Tt is an iron 
framework which supports the pnlleys over which the ropes run to raise the 


drops, borders, aud the border lights. Each scene-droji is supported by five 
ropes, and most of the borders are also supported by five ropes, though three 
are sometimes used. These ropes are attached at equal intervals along the 
length of the scene or border. 

Each of the five ropes passes over a pulley on tlie gridiron, or rigging- 
loft. The ropes are then assembled and pass down on the left of the stage to 


the first fly gallery, where the fly men are located. In raising or lowering 
a scene, the five ropes are pulled at the same time, and are secured to the fly 
rail by means of the belay ing-pins. Tn all theaters tlie arrangement is not 
the same as in the Metropolitan ; in some cases there ai'e two or three fly rails, 
each provided with belaying-pins. Usually oiie rail will be in front, as shown 
in our engraving, and the others back and at a slightly higher level. The ropes 
for the drops, etc., which are not in immediate use, are fastened to the be- 
laying-pins on this rail. The fly men climb up to the second and third fly 
galleries when heavy scenes are to be raised, and, catching hohl ol' tlie ropes, 
descend to the first fly gallei'y on the ropes. 



There were one hundred and eighty coils of rope used in the stage machin- 
ery of the Metropolitan Opera House, each containing one thousand one hun- 
dred feet, and one thousand feet of wire rope was required to hang each border 
light, they being, of course, very heavy. Twelve thousand feet of wire rope 
was needed for the curtains and border lights. 

The curtain is raised by hand, by means of a winch using wire ropes. An 
asbestos curtain is also provided, and may be dropped instantly from the level 
of the stage in case of fire, so that the conflagration can be confined to the 
" back of the house." 

We present an engraving of a corner of the stage, showing the great switch- 
board and the prompter's desk, though, of course, in Grand Opera the 
])ronipter takes up his position under a hood directly in front of the conduc- 



tor, just beyond the footlights. This hood can be dropped down under the 
stage when not in use. 

Just before the conclusion of the act the conductor of the orchestra rings 
an electric bell in the Avorking fly gallery. This is a signal to the fly man to 
get ready to lower the curtain, for the conductor knows the exact bar in the 
music at which the curtain should descend. At the ])roper moment the con- 
ductor rings again, and the curtain descends. When the men in the fly 
gallery receive the first signal — that is, the signal to get ready — they turn a 
switch which lights a colored electric lamp directly over the small prompt desk 
shown in our engraving, where the stage manager or his assistant takes up his 
position. When the conductor rings the curtain down, another colored elec- 
tric lamp is lighted on turning on a switch by the men in the fly gallery. 
Of course, audible signals would not answer. The stage manager or his 
assistant stands in front of the little desk and orders the curtain up and down, 
ilependijig upon the a])]>]aiisc of the audience, which governs the appearance of 


the artists. This little corner very much resembles the interior of the conning 
tower of a ship. Here are speaking tubes and electric bells wjiich connect with 
all parts of tlie house, from the box office to the cellar. 

The inscriptions under the bells are as follows: "Prompter," "Stage," 
"Office," "Carpenter," "Music-Room," "Wardrobe," "Engineer," 
"Orchestra," "Gas Table," "Thunder,"' "Trap," "Fly," "Property 
Artist," " Box Office." This means of communication for giving orders and 
" cues " is very useful; for instance, Avhen the proper moment for thunder has 
arrived, the stage manager pushes the button and it thunders. Here is also a 
book upon which is inscribed the exact time of beginning and finishing the 
various acts. A door at the right of the desk gives access to the stage in front 
of the curtain; there is a corresponding door on the other side of the house. 
These doors are very useful, as they enable the artists to appear in response to 
encores, withoiit raising the curtain, which means loss of time which is much 
needed in changing the scene. It is a wonderful sight to look through the little 
peep-hole in the door at the audience. Tier upon tier of splendidly clothed 
humanity rises up to the family circle at a dizzy height above. The whole is 
bright and gay, and is very different from the practical world behind the stage, 
where stand the stalwart stage hands ready for their duties; but, after all, the 
world behind the stage has a charm which even the casual visitor willingly 

The electric lighting of the Opera House is very interesting, the switchboard 
especially. It is believed to be the finest theater switchboard in the world, and 
cost a good-sized fortune. It is known as the Kelly-Cushing switchboard. 
From the switchboard every light in the house is controlled both in front of and 
behind the curtain. Of course, the necessity of arranging all the lights used 
upon the stage so that the colors may be changed, greatly complicates the switch- 
board. It is arranged so that the operator can move all the rheostats at once, 
if desired, thus producing a gradual brightening or dimming of the lights. 
This is done by the large lever at the right of the switchboard. Underneath 
will be seen the fuses. At the right will be noticed a number of small switches. 
These control the jnlot lights which are fastened at the top of the switchboard. 
These pilot lights show the exact condition of every light both in the house and 
on the stage; and the electrician, who has absolute control over all the lights 
from the great switchboard, can see at a glance what lights he has on, whether 
red, blue, yellow, or white, and their brightness. The footlights, Avhich are 
between the conductor and the curtain, are provided with fifty candle-power 
lamps. The drop scenes, and especially the borders, are lighted by means 
of what are called border lights. The border lights consist of a batten 
which runs clear across the stage and which is suspended from the grid- 
iron by means of wire ropes. Tlie batten is backed with a tin reflector. 
There are two hnndrod and thirty-four lamps in each of the border lights, 
which are eight in nuiubor. The electric lamps are of thirty-two candle- 
power, and arc arranged alternately in coloi's of red. Avliito, l)luo. and yellow. 
It is, of course, [)ossiblc for two of the colors to he tui'UfMl on at once if (k-sired. 


Any degree of brightness may be obtained by maniinilating the rheostats on 
the switchboard. 

Tbe cables for furnif^hiiig tlie electricity for the border lights are attached 
at the level of the lii'st ily gallery on the right side, or tlie side opposite to 
the working fly gallery. The border lights are usually maintained at a height 
just above the first fly gallery. In case of any breakdown in tlie electrical 
system, gas is provided for the borders and the footlights, the burners being 
secured to the battens of the border lights the same as the electric lights. 
Rubber tubes which furnish the supply of gas are attached on the same side 
as the electric cal^le. At the sides of the proscenium opening are what are 
called ''side lights." They are one hundred in nimiber, and are of sixteen 
candle-power. They are provided in the four colors already mentioned. 
Fp in the first fly gallery, at the side of the border liglits, are eighteen arc- 
light projectors, nine to the side, seven of which are Avhat are called "open 
boxes,"" that is, they have a ground-glass front, and two of them are provided 
with lenses and are called '"lens boxes." These arc liglits take the place of 
the old calcium lights, and are better and more economical. The wings are 
lighted by what are called "bunch lights," several incandescent lights being 
placed in front of a reflector. They are supported by a standard. The electric 
light can be obtained at nearly all parts of the stage from boxes which are pro- 
vided with an iron cover. Gas may also be had for use in various effects. 
In some operas, as many as a thousand incandescent lights maybe going on the 
stage at one time, in addition to the arc-light projectors already referred to. 
There is little wonder that under this intense light the ordinary complexion is 
paled, and artifice is required to come to the aid of nature. There are about 
nine thousand incandescent lights in the entire house, although they are not all 
used at one time. Every part of the house is beautifully lighted, even to the 

When the Opera House is used for balls, splendid chandeliers are used, which 
are stored in the cellar when not in use. The whole stage and orchestra are 
boarded over, making a superb ballroom. The Opera House does not have its 
own plant for generating electricity. It is all obtained from the street circuit. 
It is believed that there is less risk of a breakdown or from fire than if an 
isolated plant was provided. Electricity is i;sed in many of the effects and for 
running the ventilating fans and the elevators. 

\Ylien the house Avas rebuilt after the fire, the gas table made way for the 
switchboard. The complicated gas plot is not used at the present time at the 
Opera House, the electrician carrying the lighting in his mind, the effects 
being determined upon at the rehearsal. Much of the lighting depends on 
"cues;" thus, in the first act of "Siegfried," when Wotan appears in the 
mouth of the cave, this is the signal for light being turned on him with a pro- 
jector; and further on, wdien lie strikes the stage with his spear, white light is 
thrown on him. 

The electrical organ at the ^letropolitan Opei-a House is interesting. The 
organ itself is fixed in the first fly gallery on the right, but it may be jtlayed 


from any part of the stage. At the extreme right of the stage is the organ 
trap. When it is wished to use the organ either for rehearsal or for a per- 
formance, tlie keyboard is raised by the trap and carried to any part of the 
stage, a large cable carrying the wire whicli rnns up to the organ. This 
arrangement gives great satisfaction. 

Every precaution is taken to guard against fire, which once played such havoc 
with the Opera House. Lines of hose are on every floor, and automatic 


sprinklers are in all of the rooms. Axes and flre-hooks are disposed at frequent 
intervals. A fireman is on the stage at all the performances, and the men are 
carefully trained in a fire drill. The asbestos curtain affords absolute protec- 
tion to the audience, as even a fire of the most serious character in the '' back 
of the house" would give the most ani[)lo time for all of the audience to get 
out comfortably. It may be di-o])])('(l cither from the flies or the stage. It is 
lowered at night as a precaution. 

'I'hc paint bridgi; is a \\n\o. ])lutl'orni at tJic Irvel of tlic first fly gallery, 
ami furnishes a means of communication lictween the two flv galleries. The 


canvas which is to be painted is run up the side of the paint bridge. The 
scenic artist thus has access to all parts of the canvas. On the paint bridge 
are long tables covered with large earthenware dishes in which the paint 
is kept. The visitor Avill probably be surprised to see the enormous cpiantity 
of color which is used in painting scenery; the color is mixed with a size. 
At the Metropolitan the scenery is painted by daylight, but it can also be 
liglited artificially by incandescent lights. The production of a new opera 
necessitates the making of large quantities of scenery. 

The property-rooms are most interesting. Here you may see Siegfried's 
anvil, his forge, Wotan's spear, the Lohengrin swan, or the '' Rheingold; " 
while under the second fly gallery will be seen the parts of "Fafner," the 
dragon in " Siegfried," which will be described in another chapter. The armory 
is a room containing a vast collection of helmets, casques, breastplates, swords, 
spears, lanterns, daggers, etc. ; while in a case lighted by electricity are the 
splendid jewels, crowns, etc., which make such an effective appearance when 
seen on the stage. Here will also be found a model of the old dragon 
which was burned up iji the fire. Hung up on one side of the wall is an ele- 
phant's head with a trunk which is freely flexible, and in tlie next room will be 
found the head of a camel Avhich winks his eyes. In here are also stored the 
shields and weapons which the great artists use when they impersonate North- 
ern gods and warriors. Under the property master's charge are modeling- 
rooms and carpenter shops. 

The day on which the opera is to be performed the property master gets out 
all of the things which will be needed in the production. They are carefully 
stowed away convenient to the stage, or upon it, so that they may be brought 
to their proper place without a moment's delay. AVhen it is considered that 
the size of the objects varies from the dragon to a pack of cards, it will be seen 
that there is a great chance of forgetting something; but should this occur, 
everything is arranged so that the error can be remedied with the smallest loss 
of time. With properties, as with stage carpentry, everything depends upon 
invention, and for every new opera the property master is obliged to devise new 
properties and new effects for which he has often no precedent. 

When the curtain falls for good after the encores, the stage machinist 
blows a sharp blast on his whistle, and as if by magic all the singers and 
the chorus who have not gone already, leave the stage, and their places are 
taken by a swarm of stage hands. The fly men raise the drops and the 
borders out of the way, while the men on the stage take away the mova- 
bles and the set scenes. 'J'he wing scenes are unfastened and are placed at 
the sides of the stage temporarily, while the new set scenes are brought out 
and take their place. If rising ground is to be made, the men raise the trap 
doors and, reaching underneath the bridges, haul them up to the jiroper height 
and secure them with 2)ins. Then canvas to represent the ground is placed 
over the front of the stage and u}) over the broken ground. Rocks and trees 
of papier waclie and canvas are brought in and placed in position. If any 
things like chandeliers are used, ropes are dropped from the gridiron to 


secure them at the proiier height. The stage machinist stands in the middle of 
the stage and gives an order now and then to some of the men, the scenes and 
the drops and borders are raised or lowered, or the set scenes straightened until 
all are iu order and able to pass the critical eyes of tlie machinist and the 
stage manager. All of this is done without confusion, so carefully is every man 
trained in his duties. Then calls are sent to the various dressing-rooms, and 
the chorus or " supers " are brought out and placed in position. When every- 
thing is in readiness, and the proper time has arrived, according to the music, 
the prompter, from his little box under the stage, gives a signal which is 
transmitted to the fly men, who wind away on the windlasses and raise the 
curtain. It might naturally be supjjosed that all is now quiet at the back 
and sides of the stage, but this is not always the case; the wings and the stage 
back of the last drojj are filled with those Avho are to go on next, and one 
may encounter Sicilian bandits, jieasants. Northern gods, or the inemiere dan- 
seuse nervously 2^i"icticing her stejas Avith the master of the ballet. The 
favored visitor is allowed to walk around in this new world without being 
molested, and the opera as seen from the floor of the stage or from the " flies " 
is a sight never to be forgotten. 

After any one has viewed the ^Ji'od notion of an elaborate opera from behind 
the scenes he will never again be in the slightest degree annoyed by the length 
of the entr'acte. The only wonder is that the elaborate scenes can be gotten 
ready in the fifteen or twenty minutes which elapse between the falling of the 
curtain at the close of one act and the raising of the curtain at the beginning 
of the next act; and it must be remembered that the artists are frequently the 
canse of the delay. 

The dressing-rooms at the Metropolitan are not luxurious, but often the 
artists fix them up attractively. The dressing-rooms for the supers, chorus, 
and ballet are, of course, large. 

Few of those who hear the first production of a new opera realize that the 
successful performance is the result not only of the singing of celebrities and 
perfect orchestration, but also of the patient care which has been bestowed 
upon the opera for months by the stage manager and those wlio have helped 

When tlie director of the opera company decides to produce a new opera the 
libretto is given to those who are charged with the construction of scenery, 
costumes, and properties. The first thing to be avoided is the gross anachron- 
isms which are so often seen upon even the stages of first-class theaters. The 
examples of chronological errors Avhich might be cited are almost eiulless, and 
for interesting examples the reader is referred to "Pictorial Art on the 
Stage," by E. AV. and E. 11. Blashfield, in the ''Century,'^ vol. xxxv. At 
the present time celebrated artists are often engaged to make drawings of the 
scenes and costumes. Tlie results obtained for spoken dramas by Mr. Frank 
Millet and Mr. Hamilton Bell are noteworthy. If artists are not engaged to 
do the work it is enirusted to carefully ti'ained spociiilists. '^rhey first con- 
sult l>ooks of costume and woi'ks bearing upon the i)eriod which is to be illus- 


trated. These matters are discussed by the director, and the designs are modi- 
tied if necessary. The scenic artist is then called in to sketch and model 
the scenery. He lias a miniature stage on the scale of half an inch to a foot. 
Little scenes are made for it of pasteboard, and carefully 2)ainted. They are 
placed in position, and are modified from time to time, as required. It is really 
Avonderful to the layman to see how many things have to be taken into consid- 
eration in modeling a scene. The number of persons npon the stage, the proper- 
ties, the music, and the difficulties of setting the scenes, all have to be most 
carefully considered, as well as arrangements for traveling on the road. 
Finally the miniature stage with all its properties is fully equipped, then the 
whole force at the disposal of the stage manager is set to work to prepare 
costumes, projierties, and scenery. All possible care must be taken to insure 
the projoer effects of color when the costumes and scenery are brought into 
juxtaposition. Frequently over two hundred and fifty costumes must be 
made for a single opera, so that the costume-rooms of an opera house resemljle 
a mammoth dressmaking and tailoring establishment. It is no small task to 
preserve the thousands of costumes from dust and moths. Before each per- 
formance all the costumes required must be gotten out, brushed, and placed 
in tlie proper dressing-rooms. All repairs are made to the garments before 
putting them away again. The number of properties which are required for 
an opera is frequently several hundred, and they are of all sizes, from finger 
rings to immense constructions which require the united efforts of a dozen 
me?i to move them. It is naturally to be supposed that j)npier mncJ/eand plas- 
ter of paris are two of the most valuable adjuncts of the property master's art. 
Probably nothing it] the way of an opera requires such Yankee ingenuity as 
does the office of property master. "We have not space to go into the subject 
of rehearsals and how the final production of the opera is accomplished, but 
we shall endeavor to give a few examples in the next chapter of how some of 
the effects are produced. 

Before taking up the minor stage effects, as well as those which might be 
called ■' theater secrets," we will first describe some interesting old stages, then 
stage effects in which the entire stage is required for the production of a certain 
effect. In leaving the subject of opera it is only fair to say that the enormous 
expense attending the maintenance of the opera house itself, the cost of proper- 
ties, lighting, etc., to say nothing of the remarkable salaries of the singers, 
really warrants the exaction of what are seemingly high prices. Opera is such 
an education to music lovers that it is unfortunate that it cannot receive such 
financial aid from the state that its success under good management will be 
assured. On the Continent every care is taken to foster the opera. In Paris, 
we believe, the government allots an annual subvention of 8U0,0U0 francs. 



AVe present au engraving of the electric drop scene of the Comedie Fran- 
9aise, at Paris. The curtain is held by five ropes, n, which pass oyer pulleys, o, 
at the upper part, and wind round a wooden drum, B, to which motion is given 
in one direction or the other in order to cause the curtain to rise or descend. 
Such motion is obtained by the aid of a belt connected with an electrical shunt 
motor, F; a counterpoise, D, held by a rope which passes around a drum, assures 
an equilibrium at every point. It is an easy matter to maneuver the curtain 
by means of the motor, the curtain being raised as required. Three dif- 
ferent velocities in descent and two in ascent are obtained. The maximum 
velocity of descent is five feet per second, the medium is three feet six inches, 
and minimum is three feet five inches. The velocities of ascent are respectively 
two and one- half and three and one-half feet per second. This was, we 
believe, the 2>ioiieer of all theater curtains which were w'orked by electricity. 
There have been many since. 


In Japanese ballets a large fan is sometimes used in place of a drop curtain, 
and in some of the Paris cafes: a fan is also used, as this enables them to make 
evasion of the law relating to theatrical perfornumces. We present an engrav- 
ing showing the fan at the Paris Opera House, in a ballet called "Ze Reve'''' 
(The Dream). 

It scarcely differs in principle from an oidiiiary fan, but the sticks are 
twenty-three feet in length; that is to say, two stoi'ies high. There are in all 
ten sticks that revolve around the same axis (letter K in our second engraving). 
They are connected by strips of canvas of the sainc; width. The two extreme 
sticks, A and 1^, and the two center ones, C! and D, are ])rolonged beneath the 
axis of rotation. It is these four sticks only that are acted upon in order to 
open and (dose the fan. Othoi's |»arti('i]):it(' in Ihcir motion through arcs of 
iron which connect one with tlie other. The inunuuvering apparatus is readily 



understood by reference to our engraving, the ropes from the four working 
sticks of the fan running over windLasses. The fan is arranged in advance 


under the stage. In the middle of the first act it is mounted vertically, all 
closed, upon the stage, behind the streamer which completely hides the maneu- 


ver. The fan is manipulated by two men, one at each windlass; moreover, 
the work is facilitated by the use of cables, provided with counterpoises, which 


are hooked above to the four principal sticks and pass over guide pulleys 
placed in a semicircle. The cables are concealed behind a decoration repre- 
senting foliage which hides the edges of the fan. 


We present an engraving of the theater stage of the jVEadison Square The- 
ater, New York City, which shows a remarkable advance in stage management. 
The first movable stage is probably that which the late Steele Mackaye patented 
in 1869. The details of Mackaye's patent were not completely worked out, 
but this was done by jMr. Nelson Waldron, the stage machinist, who elaborated 
the system and obtained a patent on it. The stage in the theater we refer to is 
moved up and down in the same manner as an elevator car, and is operated so 
that either of its divisions can be easily and quickly brought to the proper level 
in front of the auditorium. This enables the stage hands to get one scene ready 
while the other one is in view of the audience. The shaft through which the 
huge elevator moves up and down measures one hundred tind fourteen feet 
from the roof to the bottom. The stages are moved up and down in a com- 
jmct, two-floored structure of timber strapped with iron, and knitted together 
with truss-beams above and below, and substantially bound by tie and tension 
rods. The whole construction is fifty-five feet high and twenty-two feet wide 
and thirty-one feet deej), and weighs about forty-eight tons. A vertical 
movement of the structure or car is twenty-five feet two inches at each change. 
The car is suspended at each corner by two steel cables, each of which would 
be capable of supjiorting the entire structure. These cables pass upward over 
sheaves or pulleys set at different angles, and thence downward to a saddle to 
which they are all connected. Secured to this saddle is a hoisting cable attached 
to a hoisting drum, by the rotation of which the stage is raised or lowered. 
Only about forty seconds ai'e required to raise or lowei' the stage in i)osition, 
and the entire structure is moved by four men at the winch. The movement is 
effected without sound, jar, or vibration, owing to the balancing of the stage 
and its weight with counterweights, which are suspended from the saddle to 
which the cables supporting the stage are attached. 

The borders and border lights are supplied to each of the movable 
stages, and each stage has its own trap floor, with traps and guides and wind- 
lasses for raising the traps. The space for operating the windlass uiuler the 
top stage is about six feet. Our illustration shows that while the jilay is pro- 
ceeding before the audience, the stage hands are setting the scene on the stage 




The fact that there have been many important ami l)rilliant inventions 
relating to stages made by Americans has been overlooked, and nearly all of the 
literature of the subject does not consider them at all. 'J'his is probably owing 
to the fact that in many cases the inventions have been i)lanned" out on so 
large a scale they can hardly bo nsed, and, unfortunately, they usually exist 
only on paper. Still, ^ve cannot help but admire the genius of such men as 
Steele Mackaye, whose inventions in this line were most remarkable, and to 
whom we have already referred in reference to the elevator stage. AVe now 
purpose to describe one of the most gigantic affairs that was ever devised for 
obtaining scenic effects. It was intended for the " Spectatorium "' at the 
World's Fair at Chicago, in 1803. It will be remembered that the unfinished 
building was just outside the lower end of the Fair gronnds. Unfortunately 
the scheme Avas not carried out. 

In brief, Mr. Mackaye's idea was to increase realism in the jierformances, 
and, at the same time, lessen the time of the waits between the scenes. To 
this end he devised means for producing various scenic effects in imitation of 
natural or other scenery, with sjiecial reference to the proper presentation 
of important historical or other events, as, for instance, the discovery of 
America by Columbus or the burning of Rome by Nero. liis arrangements 
permitted of the exhibition of various occurrences, either on land or water, in 
such a manner as to give the effect of the actual occurrence. Thus, near and 
distant moving objects were to be moved at different rates of speed for the 
production of perspective moving scenic effects. Ilis invention consisted 
primarily of the combination of movable stages adapted to support and carry 
the scenic arrangements and properties or persons. The building might, of 
course, be of any desired form ; a proscenium wall or arch was to be provided, 
and Mr. Macka3"e devised an adjustable proscenium openijig to meet the vari- 
ous requirements of the drama. Back of the proscenium arch was a series of 
stages which could be made in any desii'ed shape and fitted to support and carry 
scenes, properties, or persons. They were provided with rollers or wheels and 
ran on tracks or floated on tanks. These stages, or cars, as they might be termed, 
were to be moved over a track which was really a segment of a circle. In order 
to save space the cars were so arranged that they would telescopic. As already 
mentioned, the cars could be driven at any rate of ' S])eed; thus, where there 
were four concentric stages, the one the furthest away from the audience could 
be moved much slower than the one nearest the spectators. Electric luotors and 
cables Avere to haul the moving stages over the curved tracks, or guideways. 
Ample facilities were to be provided for the use of vessels; the various tracks 
on which ran the scenic car being arranged so that they could be flooded with- 
out interfering with the moving of the scenes. 

Waves were to be produced by what was known as a " wave maker," 
ing of a plate pivoted to a reciprocating frame which Avorks in guideways 


fitted within clianuel bars, -vvliich are secured to plates forming a canal con- 
nected with the curved water ways or channels. The wave plates were to be 
connected by a pitman rod to the crank wheel or shaft of an electric motor. 
When it was desired to give the effect of waves upon the surface of the water 
contained in the reservoir of the foundation floor of the scenic department 
which overspreads this department to sufficiently conceal the tracks in the 
water channel, the wave maker could be set in motion by the operator or 
prompter turning on the current to the motor. Channels, conduits, sluices, 
and gates were to'be provided to cause the water to flow from one channel into 
another. The current was to be made by spiral blades or archimedean screws 
jonrnaled in proper supports and geared to electric or other suitable motors. 
The rotary motion was to be imparted to the blades to force the water through 
the clninnel and thereby produce a cnrreut. 

Powerful electric fans were to be provided for the purpose of forming cur- 
rents of air for producing the effect of a gale of wind blowing in either direc- 
tion, and a motor in the dome over the scene would permit of the currents of 
air descending, ascending, or moving in a rotary course, so that the effect of a 
stiff gale, a hurricane, or a cyclone could be produced. The air could also be 
sent through flexible tubes, so. that it could be guided in any desired directioii. 

Mr. Mackaye had several other devices, also, for prodncing atmospheric 
effects upon the stage. What he termed "' cloud creators," or " nebulators," 
consisted essentially of a clond cloth having the cloud forms of shadows placed 
thereon and adapted to move in front of an illuminating lamp so as to cast the 
cloud shadows over the landscape or scenic arrangement, or produce the effect 
of moving clouds upon a sky foundation or other surface. The cloud cloth 
may consist of any suitable material, on which may be placed various cloud 
effects or forms, the cloth being secured to a sliding frame or fitted over rollers, 
so as to move in proximity to an illuminating coloring device, from which light 
may pass through the trans])arent or semi-transparent material on which the 
cloud effects or shadows are placed so as to cast the shadows upon the scenic 
arrangements or sky foundations, thereby imitating clouds moving through the 
sky, or cloud shadows moving over land and water. Rain was provided for by 
a series of perforated pii^es connected with a water supply, so that a gentle rain 
or a hard shower could be jiroduced. These pipes were to cross the stage, being 
secured to the fly galleries. The fog producer consisted of a trough contain- 
ing lime. This trough, which was suspended from the fly galleries and the 
roof, was to be lowered into another tank, slacking the lime, and thus forming 
a fog, the wind-making permitting of the lifting or the dissipating of the fog. 
A whole series of the " nebulators," " umbrators," and fog and rain producers 
was arranged for, the patent drawings showing six. The audience could see 
nothing of the mechanism, as each w.'is masked by borders. The scenes, with 
Mr. ^lackaye's system of lighting, could be painted in their natural color, 
the high lights not needing to be emphasized as in ordinary scene painting. 

Another curious inventio)i is what Mr. j\Iackaye was ])leased to term a "lux- 
auleator. " It was a stage appliance which was intended to prevent the audi- 


eiice from witueissiiig the operations or movements of the actors behind the 
{)roscenium opening between t]ie acts or when it was desired to shift or rearrange 
stage scenery. Tlie invention consisted of a series of lights, set in backings or 
reflectors, phiced in the form of a border or other suitable arrangement around 
the proscenium opening so as to tlirow the space in the rear of the opening 
into complete shade while flooding tlie other space, as the auditorium, in front 
of the opening, with rays of liglit. and so crossing each other and blending in 
such a manner as to intercept all sight of anything that may be placed or 
moved in the shaded portion of the stage. By this means the ordinary drop 
curtain may be dispensed with. and. at the same time, it renders it unnecessary 
to extinguish the light in the auditorium when removing or shifting stage 
scenery. This was tried in a model and was found to be satisfactory. In 
view of Mr. ]\Iackaye's remarkable invention, it can never be said that 
America is behind England and the Continent in the matter of stage business, 
and the inventions of iMackaye are representative ones of a whole class of 
American inventors, although their work was perhaps not so brilliant as 

Another interesting theatrical construction is that of Mr. Claude L. Hagen, 
the master nuichinist of the Fifth Avenue TJieater, Xew York City. In brief, 
the invention provides for a building preferably of circular form, in the center 
of which is a circular pit or cistern provided with an entrance which may be 
used by carriages and persons on foot. This entrance is provided with a 
lock gate which can be closed, so that the cistern or pit can be tilled with 
Avater for aquatic purposes. The pit can also be used for a circus ring, 
horse show, etc., or can be filled with chairs, or used for a standing audi- 
ence or promenade; the center may be occupied by an electric fountain. 

From the edge of the pit rise the tiers of seats and boxes in a similar 
form to that of the Coliseum at Rome. The stage is designed to permit of a 
series of tableaux or pictures being built permanently, so that it will not be 
necessary to resort to the scene painter's art to give light and shadow. There 
are no borders or overhead scenery, but the light is arranged to move iu the 
same manner as the sun, surrounded with large cylinders of glass so covered as 
to cause the lights on the scenes to be the same as in nature. 

The proscenium opening is at one end of the circular building, and the 
circular stage surrounds the entire auditorium, revolving into the empty space 
underneath the tiers of seats and boxes. The space underneath the tracks in 
which the stage runs being used as an arcade, connection with the lower por- 
tion of the tiers is by means of stairways at the foot of each aisle, there being 
similar exits midway of the aisle, connected with drawbridges to the stairways 
on the exterior of the building. The top of the tiers of seats opens on to a wide 
promenade which connects with a roof garden or rafe on the portion of the 
building over the stage, behind the jiroseenium aisle. Entrance to this prom- 
enade is made by means of endless traveling stairways which form parts of a 
broad stairway. The moving stairway in case of accident is automatically 
locked with and into the solid portion of the stairway, thereby forming an 


ample means of egress. The arrangement for the stage is of great interest, as 
the scenes can be built in the most elaborate manner, and the effect is, of 
course, far more realistic where real earth, trees, fences, etc., can be used. 
Where a piece is to have a long run, as a spectacular performance, this added 
realism will prove of great value, and the labor and time which is expended in 
preparing the stage for each performance will be saved; for at the termination 
of the scene the electric motors or other sources of power are put into motion, 
the entire stage is rotated, and the next scene is moved in front of the prosce- 
nium aisle. 

A portion of the revolving stage consists of a tank filled with water, so that 
marine scenes with ships and boats can be produced. For example : in case a 
drama of "Columbus" was to be produced, Columbus is discovered bidding 
his friends fareweU on the shores of Sj)ain ; he then gets into his boat, and the 
stage is caused to slowly revolve, bringing into view his ship. The land then 
disappears from view, and this is succeeded by scenes of the voyage, storms, 
etc. Then the floating branch of the tree is discovered; then the coast of 
America appears; then the disembarkment takes place; and this is followed by 
the journey into the interior. Of course, the movement of the stage can be 
reversed, and the return journey made. 

The circular stage platform can at any time be cleared of all its appurte- 
nances, and the stage can be used as a race track, being caused to move in a 
direction opposite to that in which the horses run, and at such a speed as to keep 
the horses in view through tl)e proscenium opening. Thus, the whole course 
of a steeple chase, a hurdle or other race, or even a fox hunt, can be shown to 
an audience, with the fences, walls, waterways, and other scenery moving in the 
most natural manner. The whole plan seems to have great flexibility, and it 
is to be hoped that at some time one of these interesting buildings will be built. 


For some years past the ])ublic has been demanding more and more realistic 
representations of plays. Managers have found great difficulty in satisfying 
this demand, owing to the time required to set elaborate scenery. The public 
Avill not stand long waits, whicii are often sufficient to cause the failure of a 
play or opera. These delays are bad enough between the acts, but in plays 
or operas which necessitate changes of scene during the acts, the waits be- 
come well nigh unbearable ; and many of the works of Scliiller, Goethe, and 
Shakespeare become well nigh monstrosities, as many of them are divided 
into interminable acts aiul scenes. This difficulty has been sometimes avoided 
by the use of an elevating stage such as we have just described, or by the 
so-called '' Sliakcs})eare stage," in which the front part of the stage remains 
unchanged, while on the raised rear stage different scenes succeed one another. 



This is regarded as eminently nnsatisfactory. Baron von Perfall, manager of 
the Munich Theater, ji^blished a book setting forth his ideas in regard to the 
thorough transformation of the stage as it then existed. The manager of 
the royal stage in Munich made a practical and successful test of the inven- 
tion of Herr Lautenschlager, the mechanical director of the Royal Theater of 
Bavaria. The revolving stage was used in a representation of Mozart's " Don 
Juan." When the nature of the invention first became known, many people 
associated it with a device used on Japanese stages, which consists of a revolving 
platform in the center of the stage, a similar device being employed in Amer- 
ica and England for displaying "living pictures; " but this arrangement has 
only a superficial resemblance to the revolving stage we are considering. The 
arrangement nsed at the Court Theater at Munich is essentially as follows: 

On the ordinary stage floor is placed a revolving disk, or platform, wliicli 
raises the floor slightly. This circular platform is fifty-two feet five inches in 
diameter, and presents not quite a quarter of a circle to the pi'oscenium open- 
ing, which is thirty-two feet nine inches wide. It turns on rollers that run on 
a circular track ; the revolving mechanism is driven by electricity. If a scene 
is set on the quarter circle presented to tlie audience — perhaps a closed room 
of considerable depth — something similar can be arranged on the opposite side 
of the platform whicli opens to the rear of the stage, as well as on the other 
quarters, so that four different scenes are set on the stage at the same time. 
For a play of four acts, requiring a different setting for each act, all four 
scenes can be jn-epared beforehand, and at the end of the first act the stage is 
turned a quarter of a circle (which requires about ten or eleven seconds), and 
the scene desired for the ]ie.\'t act is presented to the audience; and so on at the 
end of each act. In case three changes Avere required in one act, after tlie por- 
tion of the stage occupied by the first scene had been turned away from the 
audience, it would be cleared and set for the first scene of the next act. The 
scenes need not be limited to representations of closed rooms; any desired 
scene can be set on the turning stage, and, if necessary, the whole stage can 
be used the same as any ordinary stage. Difficulties will occur only when two 
scenes requiring great depth — for instance, two landscapes witli distant views — 
follow one another. But llerr Lautenschlager has shown that even these diffi- 
culties can be overcome by setting the scene along the radius of the circular 
stage so that the portion used decreases considerably toward the rear, and in 
this way he gains the entire depth of the stage for another scene. Much more 
of the artistic element enters into the setting of a stage of this kind than of a 
stage that is set on straight lines. 

The reader will understand the above al'tei- an examination of the accom- 
panying ])lans, Mhieh show the stage set for tlie third and fourth scenes of tlie 
first act of *• ])on Juan." The third scene shows Don Juan's gardeji, in 
which the peasants invited to i\\o fete gather and the maskers meet. This is 
changed to the liall in wliicli tiic first act closes. As sliown l)y the ])lan, 
(!onsideral)le de[)th was retjuired for this sceiu". Our large illustration shows 
iiow this change is accomplished, or how it would appear if darkness did not 


prevail wlien the stage was being turned. Before the garden had completely 
disapjieared, a portion of the liall would be visible, with all the life and motion, 
the dancers, and the gaily dressed crowd of guests. 

The " under machiuery " — the traps, chariots, bridges, etc. — are worked in 
various ways, and they are as accessible and as easily managed as in the ordi- 
nary stage. The overhead work is about the same as in any other modern iron 

A stage of this kind, constructed of iron, and equi])ped with electrical driv- 
ing devices, wonld meet the most exacting requirements of the present age. 
The success of Herr Lautenschlager's plan in the JVIunich Theater gives ground 
for the hope that it will soon be adopted in other theaters. 

The inventor of this stage, Karl Lantenschlager, was thoroughly educated 
as an engineer, and has had so much experience in the management of the 
mechanical devices of different theatres that he is admirably fitted to plan a 
thoroughly practical stage which meets the entire approval of those interested 
in "stage reform." 

A revolving stage was patented by an American, Mr. Charles A. Needham, 
in 1883. It certainly seems to contain the germ of Herr Lautenschlager's in- 
vention. A Mexican, J. llcrrera y Gutierrez, of the City of Mexico, invented 
in 1892 a theatrical arrangement in wliich the conditions of the revolving stage 
are reversed. In the center of a circular building were five andifcoriums form- 
ing a circle which was capable of turning. The stages were rectangular and 
siiri'ounded the auditoriums. A different scene was set upon each, and the 
auditoriums were turned, facing each scene in turn. 


In some theaters there is a whole series of traps worked by hydraulic 
power. These traps are capable of raising a whole section of the stage if 
desired. In the so-called " Asphaleia" stage — in which each trap goes right 
across the stage and is divided into three parts, each of which rests on the 
plunger of a hydraulic press, so that it can be raised and lowered either inde- 
pendently or simultaneously with the rest of the traps in that division — the 
whole of the floor can be raised or lowered as desired. It will be readily 
seen that by this means a stage manager has at his disposal a very effective aid 
in setting a large scene. Each section of the floor of the stage can be fixed 
in an oblique position, and the traps can bo arranged one after the other so as 
to form a succession of steps, bridges, b:ilconies, or even a sliip, in a moment, 
with ])erfect safety, a)iil without previous pi'epara,tion. '^Phe old clumsy timber- 
work set pieces aiul the building uj) of scenes is avoided, and tlie method of 
working is in many ways an ideal one, but, after all, does not seem to possess 
tlic fl(!xibility of a series of divided bridges such as are uscmI at the Metropolitan 
OjxTu Ifouse, New ^'oi'k. The hydraulic ii-ajts jicrniitol' the easy representation 



of uneven ground, which strengthens the jiossibility of ilhision and gives a 
chance for a far more picturesque arrangement than is permitted on the plain 
ordinary stage. The trap arrangement of the " Asphaleia " stage should be 
regarded as something more than a mere arrangement of traps. • In this theater 
it is arranged so that entire scenes can be raised and lowered through the 
slides simultaneously. It is possible to raise up from below the stage, in view 
of the audience, a complete scene representing a room. With these facilities 
the waits are very much shorter. The hydraulic stage of the Chicago Audito- 
rium is a fine example of good hydranlic work. In the "Asphaleia" stage 
even the drop scenes are manipulated by hydraulic power from a central point. 
The fire curtain is also actuated by a hydraulic cylinder fixed to the middle of 
the fire curtain. Valves are provided in various parts of the stage, which per- 
mit of dropping the curtain. For detailed information concerning the splendid 
stages at Halle, Buda-Pesth, and Chicago, the reader is referred to Mr. E. 0. 
Sachs's series of articles on '' Modern Theater Stages," in " Engineering" for 
October 23d and November 13, 189G, and to his monumental books upon the 
same subject. 

In our engraving it will be noticed that the horizon is represented by a can- 
vas background like a panorama. In the "Asphaleia" theater the back of the 
stage is much wide)', as compared Avith the opening of the proscenium, than 
it is in ordinary theaters. Its whole area is surrounded by a continuous cloth 
scene, on which there is painted a sky called the horizon, which runs from the 
back of the stage and up each side for quite a distance. In order to produce 
the effect of an unbroken surface the corners are rounded off very carefully so 
that the eye of the s2)ectator is not brought up by the wings. AVith this sys- 
tem it is no longer necessary to use so much rock and tree work, and it is quite 
possible to represent boundless plains or the illimitable expanse of the sea. 
This continuous horizon not only helps in the illusion, but it reaches so high 
up that borders are no longer needed. The horizon, like the canvas in a cyclo- 
rama, represents a uniformly illuminated surface, which gives the same impres- 
sion as the sky. The horizon is carried by the rollers, and it may be painted 
so that at a moment's notice the different aspects of the sky can be represented, 
from the deep blue of Italy to the mists and fogs of the North, and from the 
fleeciest clouds to a sky heavy with thunder. It is even possible to change, the 
nature of the sky during the action of the play or opera. 

Another very important feature of the '' Asphaleia" stage is the system of 
lighting; gas battens and footlights arc dispensed with. In the "Asphaleia" 
theater there is a special arrangement of the proscenium; all the lighting 
is done from the side. There are many other interesting features of the 
"Asphaleia" stage, which is almost entirely fireproof, and tends not only to 
minimize the danger of fire, but also to insure the safety of the workmen and 
artists. This form of theater stage is. of course, expensive in its initial outlay, 
but it is niucli cJiciiiK'r in its actual woi'kJTig. ()])iiii«)ns seem to be very much 
divided as to its niei'its; at any rate, it is a most interesting example of the 
most modern form of entJ^ineeriny' talent beins devoted to the buildint; of a 


tlioronglily scientific stage. M. Georges Movnet says in '' Trues el Decors,''^ 
from which we take our engraving, that the manipuhition of the scenery at 
Buda-Pesth is very slow and that the cellar is very damp. 

We have just described the "'direct ram" system of operating traps and 
bridges, but it will be readily seen that the space required for the rams is prac- 
tically lost, so another system is sometimes used. This is called the " crane " 
system. In this the bridges and traps are maneuvered by wire ropes which 
are worked by hydraulic rams placed against the walls of the stage building. 
Some of these systems are A^ery comjilicated, but the results are very satisfactory, 
and are said to be economical, doing away with much handwork, especially so 
in the day-time. 

The Court Theater at AVeisbaden possesses a very novel feature. Tlie entire 
space occupied by the musicians is really a gigantic tra]). the whole floor 
being raised or lowered Ijy hydraulic power, noiselessly and in a moment. This 
device was installed by llerr Fritz Brandt, of the Berlin Court Tlieater. Tlie 
idea of having an orchestra movable was to permit of the musicians playing at 
the bottom of the pit when the production of a Wagnerian opera was given, as 
Wagner believed that the musicians should be out of sight. He made arrange- 
ments at the theater at Bayreuth by Avhich the orchestra is entirely concealed 
from view, the sound coming from the bottom of the deep orchestra well. At 
Wiesbaden, if a small operetta is to be given, the platform for the musicians is 
raised to tlie normal height. This arrangement is valuable in other ways, for 
in the case of a ball the platform may be run to any height. The hydraulic 
rams are powerful enough to raise the entire load of sixty-five musicians, so 
that if desired the orchestra can be see-sawed up and down according to the 
requirements of the score. The Lyceum Theater, Xcav York City, is similarly 


The people of jSTew York City have the reputation of being the most tire- 
less theater-goers in all America; a statement which is verified by the ever- 
increasing number of large and well-filled places of amusement. Of late 
years the growth of tlie popularity of the style of entertainments Avhich are 
classed under the name of "" vaudeville " has called into existence a special type 
of theater, which, in addition to the resailation stage and auditorium, includes 
special halls of entertainment, with lounging-rooms, rafcs, etc., and, for use 
in the hot summer months, the inevitable roof garden. To judge from the 
nightly programme of a first-class house of this type, the excellence of the 
performance is measured, after its quality, by its length and variety. The 
more rapidly the various artists can make "their exits and their entrances," 
the more concentrated amusement can be packed into any given hour of a 
"continuous performance." 

It was with a view to enlarging the stage capacity that the proprietor of 
Proctor's Pleasure Palace, in 'New York City, resorted to the bold expedient 


wliich is sliown in the illiistratioii on i)age 284, from which it will be seen 
that a single stage is made to do duty for two separate auditoriums. The way 
in which this was accomplished will be seen by reference to the sectional dia- 
gram, which is taken longitudinally through tiie auditorium pro])er, the stage, 
and the new auditorium, which is known as the Palm (jrarden, being so named 
after the palms and tropical plants and vines with which it is decorated. The 
part of the diagram which includes the auditorium and the stage shows the 
construction of a typical summer theater of to-day — the cafe in the basement 
and the roof garden being special features in a house of this kind — which intro- 
duces no new structural features of much consequence beyond a strengthening 
of the roof supports. Stripped of its galleries and scenery, a theater consists 
of two four-walled structures, the auditorium being about square in plan, and 
the stage floor about the same width as the auditorium, and half the depth. 
Tlie walls of the stage are carried considerably higher than the roof of the 
auditorium, in order to accommodate the drop curtains, which are hung by 
ropes that pass over pulleys attached to what is known as the gridiron, a 
stout framework located near the roof of the scene loft. When the drop 
curtains are not in use they are raised clear of the proscenium, as the opening 
from the stage to the audience is called, and hang in parallel rows as shown in 
the diagram. Below the stage floor are shown the traps. Here, in the older 
theaters, were frequently located the dressing-rooms of the performers, though 
the more modern arrangement is to build them at the sides or the rear of the 

In carrying out the idea of a double stage a hall was built immediately 
behind the theater proper, and a proscenium arch was cut through the rear 
wall of the stage, the floor of which was carried out into the hall and provided 
with the regulation footlights. The new proscenium was provided with its 
own curtain, and all that was then necessary was to paint the backs of tlie 
existing wings and drop curtains with scenery, and the doubling of the stage 
was complete. 

The original intention was to have three or four perf(jrnuinces of such a 
character that they would not interfere with each other going on upon the stage 
at the same time, and during the summer months this Avas frequently done. 
Ordinarily, however, the ciirtain opening to the palm garden is kept lowered, 
and it is raised only during the intermissions, or when special acrobatic, gvm- 
nastic, or animal acts are in j)rogress. A passageway leads from the audito- 
rium to the palm garden, which are both accessible to the audience at all times. 

This is the first time that such an experiment as this has been tried, and its 
results will be watched with considerable interest. The elfect as one looks 
through the stage may be judged from the larger engraving. 



CURIO'S PivoTp:r) theater. 

One of the most ingenious of tlie ancient theaters of which we have any 
record is that devised by Curio, which is described by Pliny. In the Inilf cen- 
tury before Christ, a Avealtliy Roman citizen coustrncted a theater capable of 
holding eightv thousand persons. The stage of this theater was ornamented 
with three hundred and sixty cohimns, and between these columns tliere were 
in all three thousand statues. Curio not being able to do anything more mag- 
nificent, was, according to Pliny, obliged to substitute ingenuity for extrava- 
gance; he therefore constructed two large wooden theaters near each other, and 
they were so arranged that each could be revolved upon a pivot. In the morn- 
ing plays were put upon the stages of each of the theaters, the latter being 
back to back. In the afternoon the theaters were all at once revolved so 
as to make them face each other, the people being carried witli them. It 
was only necessary to connect the corners of the two theaters in order to have 
an amphitheater in Avhich gladiatorial combats might be exhibited. 

It is rather extraordinary that the Romans should have allowed themselves 



to be carried around in tliis unstable niacbiue. Tlie theater, of course, was 
only for temporary use, but during the last day of the celebration. Curio was 

obliged to change the order of 
his magnificent entertainments, 
since the pivots became strained 
and out of true. The amphitlie- 
ater form was therefore pre- 
served. The mode in which 
these theaters were constructed 
has occupied the attention of 
several learned persons. The 
architects in the first century 
before Christ were accustomed 
to build wooden theaters; the 
first stone one was built in 
Rome by Pomjjey. It will be 
seen that the transformation 
due to Curio's imagination 
might have been effected, as 
Pliny indicates, by a rotation 
around the pivots, P and Q, of 
the two great theaters, Avhose 
framework rested upon a series 
of small wheels movable on cir- 
cular tracks. The stages, C 
and D, of the theaters were 
constructed of light framework, 
and were so arranged that they 
could be taken down and pushed 
back at C and D', and thus al- 
low the two theaters to revolve 
on their own axes so as to come face to face, while leaving between them only 
the space necessary for rotary motion. This space was then filled with light aiul 
movable pieces of framework, A and B, which formed on the ground floor 
vast doors for the entrance of the gladiators, and, in tlie story above, boxes foj 
the magistrates. 




The oldest permanent theater in Europe, at least of those bnilt since the 
time of the Romans, is the Olympian Theater at Vicenza, Italy, and it is the 
last of its race. Before considering this curious theater it ■would, perhaps, be 
well to glance for a moment at the history of the theater in ancient and mod- 
ern times. In the old Greek Theatre the spectators were seated in a semicircle 
in front of a raised platform on which a fixed architectural screen was pro- 
vided. The action took place upon this stage. The dramas of the Greeks and 
Romans were of the simplest kind, the dialogue being simple, rhythmical, 
and often intoned. The amphitheater, in which the seats rose in tiers, could 
accommodate a large number of spectators. A theater with a radius of three 
hundred feet conld seat twenty thousand spectators. The best counterparts of 
the Greek theater are some of the concert halls which were built specially for 
oratorios and concerts. The Greeks fully understood that the facial expression 
of the actors Avas lost, the spectators being so far away from the scene of the 
action of the drama. They attempted to overcome these difificulties by 
requiring the actors to wear masks with strongly marked features, and to 
increase their height they were provided with high-heeled shoes. The opera 
glass in the modern theater has, of course, done away with all objections of this 

The modern theater is the result of the blending of the old circular theater 
of the Greeks with the rectangular theater (so-called) of the ^liddle Ages. 
The earliest mediieval theaters in Italy and Spain consisted of courtyards Avith 
balconies which were impressed into the service, and jilays were often per- 
formed in churches ; but in France the climate was so bad that the tennis 
courts were used. The trouble with the tennis court was that, owing to the 
diflficulty of rooting a large open space, the room could be only forty or 
fifty feet wide, and only six hundred to one thousand persoiis could see 
and hear to advantage. The accommodations had to be increased by tiers of 
boxes. The conch-like arrangement of classical times was soon found to be 
unfit for a spoken dialogue, wdiich cannot be well heard more than seventy-five 
or eighty feet away, or the expression of the actors' faces appreciated at a greater 
distance, so that the next improvement was the roanding off of the corners of 
the room and the multiplication of boxes, Avhich were placed tier upon tier in 
the same manner as high office buildings ~are erected, to give increased accom- 
modation, owing to the smallness and great value of some of our city blocks. 
In 1075 Fontana invented the horseshoe form of theater, which has not 
been departed from. In opera houses and lyric theaters the curve is elongated 
into an ellipse Avitli the major axis towards the stage. In theaters for the 
spoken drama. Avhere people must see and hear, the contrary process was neces- 
sary and the front lioxes were brouglit near the stage. Tiie introduction of 

*By Albert A. Hoi>kins, 



painted movable scenery seems to have been due to Baldassare Peruzzi, who 
used it in 1508 in the iDroduction of " La Calandra,^^ which was played before 
Leo X. Further improvements led to the necessity of a recessed stage with a 
framing like that of a picture. Such is in brief the development of the modern 

Palladio (1518-1580) was a native of Vicenza, a town in northern Italy, 
forty-two miles west of Venice. He was an architect of the first order, and it 
is difficult to mention any architect Avho exercised a greater influence on the men 
of his time as well as on those who succeeded him. He was an enthusiastic 
student of antiquity, and, fascinated by the stateliness and charm of the build- 
ings of ancient Eome, he did not reflect that reproductions of these, even when 
they possessed great archifiological accuracy, were often lifeless and unsuited to 
the uses of the sixteenth century. His writings and architectural work ren- 
dered it easy for those who came after him to reproduce buildings which were 
faultless in their details, but which were cramped, formal, and cold. The Oer- 
tosa of Pavia would have been impossible in London, yet under the inspiration 
of Palladio, Sir Christopher Wren was enabled to construct in London the 
Cathedral of St. Paul, which would have done honor to the great Italian master 

Palladio died before the theater at Vicenza was completed, and it was fin- 
ished, though not altogether after the original design, by his pupil and fellow- 
citizen, Scamozzi. It was an attempt to reproduce the classic theaters of 
Greece and Eome, and his friends assisted him by sending designs of antique 
buildings to help him. It consists of an auditorium under an awning in the 
form of a semi-ellipse, it not being possible, from the narrowness of the situ- 
ation, to use a semicircle. Its greater diameter is ninety-seven and one-half 
feet, and its lesser as far as the stage is fifty-seven and one-half feet. Fourteen 
ranges of seats for the spectators follow the curve of the ellipse. At the 
summit of these receding steps, or seats, is a corridor of the Corinthian 
order, which, from the narrowness of the ground, could not be detached from 
the outer wall at all places. Palladio therefore filled up the nine center and 
the three external columnations, Avhere the statues touch the external wall, with 
pieces of statuary. The orchestra is five feet below the seats. The scene, which 
is sixty feet broad, is an architectural composition of two orders of the Corin- 
thian style superimposed, which are surmounted in turn with a liglit and well- 
proportioned attic. On the stylobate of the second story are placed statues, 
and the inter-columnations are enriched with niches and statues. The panels 
of the attic are ornamented with reliefs of the "Labors of Hercules," and the 
center panel over the largest of the three openings in the proscenium, which 
is arched, with a representation of an ancient hippodrome. Over the arch is 
the following inscription: *' Viktvti ac Gento OLYMPicoRVisr Academia 
Theatrvm iioo a Fvnuamentis Euexit Anno MDLXXXIIII. Palladio 

In the lower order the middle interval has a high open arch, and the two 
others, on the side, have square openings through which are seen streets and 


squares of stately architecture, each ending in a trinm))hal arcli. The position 
of the diverging avenues will be understood by reference to the plan. The 
magnificent palaces and private dwellings which are here portrayed furnish a 
very effective setting for the plays which were performed in the theater. 
Though the distance to the back of the theater is only forty feet, yet by skillful 
and ingenious perspective and foreshortening it appears to be four hundred feet 
distant. For tliis skillful and ingenious conceit, which is unclassical in spirit, 
we are indebted to 8camozzi. Tlie exterior of the theater is by no means com- 
parable to its internal beauty. It was built not at the expense of the govern- 
ment, but by some private A^icentine gentleman of the Olymi^ic Academy. 
The theater was completed in 1580, and was inaugurated by the performance 
of the '■ (Edipns Tyraiinus " of Sophocles. 

The general lines of the interior of the theater are noble and calm. The 
theater looks as well on paper as in reality, for, like so inany of Palladio's 
buildings built of brick aud stucco, Avhicli are now in a dilapidated condition, 
it has an enduring shabbiness. It must be said that in this remarkable building 
Palladio conciliated the precepts of Vitruvius and the needs of a contempora- 
neous society. M. Eugene Miintz has expressed the conception of the theater 
when he said that it was a " mirage of a Paolo Veronese in architecture," and 
indeed, with its profusion of statues and niches and columns, it does resemble 
the works of the great painter of Verona, who, in his great light-filled fres- 
coes and canvases, crowds the space with monumental architecture, and fills the 
buildings with the well-dressed courtiers of Venice, until the Avhole becomes a 
gorgeous pageant. 





The present chapter deals with the various effects whicli are liable to be 
called for in almost any opera or other dramatic production. It should be 
remembered that the effects of sunrise, moonlight, thunder, lightning, Aviud, 
rainbows, fires, etc., may be obtained in a great variety of ways, so that only an 
outline of some of the methods of producing the illusion can be given. Stage 
management is a constant study. Stage managers and stage machinists and 
property masters vie with one another in producing more and more realistic 
illusions. It is a curious fact that this business is largely a matter of inven- 
tion, and it is little wonder that it is in the hands of exceptionally clever men. 


Scene painting is an art by itself. There is no other branch of painting 
like it, either in the variety of subjects embraced or in the methods employed. 
The scenic artist must be at home in landscape, marine, or architectural paint- 
ing. He must be able to produce at any time the mountainous passes of Switz- 
erland, the flat meadows of Holland, the palace of Versailles, or the Windsor 
Hotel. The method by whicli he works and many of the materials he employs 
are altogether different from tliose used by the ordinary oil or water-color 
painter. The scene painter Avorks upon canvas. He first makes a pasteboard 
model of his scene and gives it to the stage carpenter or stage machinist, who 
builds the framework and secures the canvas to it. It is then ready for the 
"paint frame." This is a huge wooden affair hung up with ropes with coun- 
terweights attached. It is usually placed against the Avail at the back or side of 
the stage, and has a windlass attached by Avhicli it may bo raised or lowered. 
The artist Avorks upon a bridge built in front of this frame, the paint bridge 
usually giving a passage between the two fly galleries. A paint bridge is 
illustrated in Chapter I. of the present division of this Avork. By hoisting or 
lowering the paint frame the artist is enabled to reach any part of the scene. 
He is provided with plenty of brushes, ranging from a heaA'y two-pound brush, 
such as is used by house painters, to a snudl shar}) one used for draAving fine 
lines. In addition to these he has several whitewash brushes for laving in flat 


washes and skies. The colors are kept in buckets, tin cans, and earthenware 
vessels. His other requisites are a palette knife, plenty of twine, and sticks 
of charcoal. He is then ready to go to work. His first duty is to "prime" 
the scenes. This is done with a plain coat of white. Distemper color is 
used in scene jiaintiug. The colors are mixed with sizing, which is simply a 
weak solution of glue. The priming coat is laid on with a heavy whitewash 
brush. After the canvas is primed and dry, the artist is ready to draw. After the 
rough charcoal sketch is made, it is carefully gone over with an ink specially 
prepared for the purpose. The architectural work must be done with preci- 
sion; regularity of outline and accuracy are absolutely essential. The perspec- 
tive requires to be laid off with the greatest possible care, as the effect of many 
scenes depends almost entirely upon it. The next step is the laying in of the 
groundwork. The sky is, of course, the first point. This is done with white- 
wash brushes. The principal point is to get it on thickly, and here the great 
advantage of painting in distemper is made plain. The color dries very 
quickly, thus affording the artist a high rate of speed in working; and, secondly, 
the color dries precisely the same shade it had before being mixed. Scene 
painters of different nationalities have various methods of working, some 
using a great deal of color, others very little. Some idea of the rapidity of 
working can be obtained when it is stated that a scene painter of the English 
school has been known to paint a scene of twenty by thirty feet in less than 
four hours. Some of the colors used cost as much as 12,75 per pound. Indigo 
is used in very large quantities by scenic artists. Ten pounds of indigo are 
sometimes used in a single scene. A scenic painter, however, is not confined 
to colors in producing effects. A number of other materials are of great 
importance in this kind of painting. Gold and silver leaf are freely used for 
certain kinds of scenes, as well as foil papers and bronze powders. Jewels in 
the wall of the Eastern palace cannot be imitated with a sufficient degree of 
realism to stand the glare of the light, so jewels are made of zinc and set in the 
canvas; they are made of all colors; they are often covered with colored lac- 
quers, or the painted surface is lacquered. In ice scenes mica powders are used 
in large quantities to produce the glitter and sparkle. Nearly every scene 
painter has a large collection of stencils which are very useful for producing 
architectural decorations. The last thing the scene painter does before the 
introduction of a new play is to have his scenes set upon the stage at night in 
order that the lighting of tliem can be arranged. The artist sits in the center 
of the auditorium aiid minutely observes every nook and corner of the scene 
under the glare of the gas or electric light. Here a light is turned up and there 
one is lowered until the proper effect is obtained. The gas man or electrician 
takes careful note of his directions, and the stage manager oversees every- 



The sunrise effect is obtained in several ways. A semicircular screen is 
placed across the stage and forms the background, as for mountains. Upon 
a platform immediately behind the center of the stage is placed an arc pro- 
jector that is maneuvered by hand, and throws a luminous disk upon the 
canvas of the screen. Upon the stage are suspended colored incandescent 
border lights. In other suitable places there are arranged groups of lamps 
provided with reflectors of special form. These lamps nuiy be introduced suc- 
cessively into the circuit. Colored gelatine plates may be slid over the reflec- 
tors so as to give the light the color desired. Our engravings show the various 
systems of lighting employed, showing the cords, pulleys, and other devices for 
turning the gelatine shades around or raising them so as to give the desired 
effect. The electrician first puts into the circuit the group of lamps that pro- 
duce the blue light, and at the same time turns the blue shades over the lamps. 
At a given signal the operator pulls the rope so as to bring the red colored 
shades in front of the lamps. When the signal is given to him, the operator 
in charge of the arc lamp places a red glass in front of the lenses of the pro- 
jector and switches the current on to the lamp. The resistances in the circuit 
of the various incandescent lamps are successively withdrawn so as to heighten 
the red light of the rising sun. In some theaters colored incandescent lamps 
are used, as at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, as described in 
Chapter I. of the present division of this work. This system is, of course, pref- 
erable in many ways. 

To return to the sun-rising effect: after the sun has risen above the moun- 
tains the red light is diminished, the red glass placed before the aperture of the 
projector is gradually removed, and the color screens are removed from in front 
of the lamps. Motion is given to the sun by means of an inclined plane up 
which the arc lamp is carried by means of a winch which is slowly manipulated 
by the assistant. 



0—^ J ^^IQillU 






The stage effect which we are about to describe is produced by the mechan- 
ism which was formerly in use in the Metropolitan Opera House, New York 
City. The electrical sun was a big glass disk with an arc lamp of two thousand 
candle-power behind it. It showed through a hole cut in a drop curtaiu, and 
was set firmly in a frame covered with colored gauze to represent the various 
hues which the sun imparts to the atmosphere, and the colors it projects upon 
the clouds, during ascension and declination. It is very effective in many operas, 
as in " The Prophet " and " Tannhauser." 


One of the most beautiful effects produced upon the stage is the change 
from day to night or from night to day, especially the former. This is accom- 
l)lished in various ways, as the following: To produce the proper effect the back 
drop is made nearly dou])le tlic height of the usual scene; the upper half is 
painted to represent a sunset sky, and the lower half to represent moonlight. It 
is hung so that the upper half ahnie is visible. The scenery of the distance is 
then painted upon a separate piece, which is profiled — that is, cut irregularly 
— to represent trees, mountains, or houses. This piece is placed immediately in 
front of the sky drop. A few feet further in front is held what is known 
as a cut gauze drop. This has sides and a top of canvas painted as the 
case requires, while the center is filled with fine gauze which lends an aerial 


effect to the distance. Red lights are employed to give a soft sunset glow to 
the scene. At the proper moment the back drop is slowly and steadily raised. 
While the red lights are slowly dimmed, the green lights are slowly turned on. 
The moon effect is obtained in different ways, as we will shortly describe. The 
moon is sometimes made in the night-half of the sky drop and rises with 
it. When it rises above the distant horizon, the green lights are turned on to 
their full power. 


The star which we illustrate consists of a single sixteen candle-power incan- 
descent lamp fixed to a metal frame set in a drop curtain ; only the star itself, 
with a covering of red gelatine tinctured with blue, showing through. 


There is hardly any illusion on the stage which is seen as often as the moon- 
light effect, and there is nothing which can be as well counterfeited on the 
stage as moonlight scenery. The artist usually begins his task by painting a 
moonlight scene; by daylight such a scene is ghastly, being painted in cold 
grays and greens, in which Prussian blue and burnt umber play an important 
part, and the lights are put in with white, slightly tinged with emerald green. 
The strong moonlight of the foreground is produced by a calcium light thrown 
through a greeu glass. A fainter light upon the scenery at the back of the 
stage is obtained from what are called "green mediums" — lamps with green 
shades. They are placed upon the stage just in front of the main scene, and 
are " masked in " by scenery. A row of them is often suspended from the 
flies in order to light the top of the scenes. In this case they are hidden from 
view by what are called the sky borders; thus a soft green light is given to 
the entire stage without the source of it being visible. The position of the moon 



being determined upon, immediately under it a number of small irregular 
holes are cut in the drop, beginning at the horizon. These are covered on the 
back with muslin, and are painted over on the front to match the rest of the 
scene. Behind these holes is placed an endless towel about eight feet in 
height, running around rollers at the top and bottom ; the lower roller has a 
crank by which the towel is turned. In the towel are cut a number of holes 
similar to those cut in the drop. A strong gas burner is jilaced between the two 
sides of the towel. When the crank is turned, the flashing of the light through 
the passing holes in the towel and the stationary ones in the drop 
scene produces a fine efliect. Instead of a towel a large tin cylinder 
may be used. Other interesting moon effects are described in the 
chapter entitled "A Trip to the Moon," in the present work. 

We now come to the moon proper, which is produced in a num- 
ber of ways. The form which we illustrate is one in use in the 
Metropolitan Opera House, Xew York City. It is about eighteen 
inches in diameter, and is made of j^orcelain or milk glass and is 
oval in form. Within are six incandescent lamps of sixteen candle- 
power, connected with a rheostat. 

It is very effective in many operas, as in " Tannhauser. " 
The moon is moved by means of a batten, a thin piece of wood 
let down from above, the course being marked for the operator 
by the apparent, though exaggerated, movements of the moon as we see them 
in an orrery. The mimic sun moves behind the drop, but the moon moves 
before it, and therefore to keep up the illusion the wires it draws after it 
must be colored the same as the drop. 




The rain machine is usually placed high up in the flies. 
A hollow wooden cylinder five feet in circumference and four 
feet in length is provided. Upon the inside are placed rows of 
small wooden teeth. A quantity of dried peas are placed in the 
cylinder, and a belt is run around one end of it and down to 
the prompter's desk. By turning these cylinders the peas run 
down between the teeth, and the noise produced by them nuikes 
a good imitation of rain falling upon a roof. Traveling com- 
panies often have to go to small theaters where such luxuries as 
"rain machines" are unknown. A sufficiently good substitute 
is, however, easily obtained. A sheet of heavy brown paper is 
pasted over a child's hoop and a handful of bird shot is placed 
upon the paper. The hoop is tipped from side to side, and the 
shot rolls around the paper, producing a fairly good rain effect. 

Our engraving shows a French form of rain machine. It 


consists of a wooden box seven or eiglit feet long, divided into compartments, 
as shown in our engraving, by oblique pieces of tin which transform the interior 
into a tortuous passage for the dried peas. The quantity of peas is regulated 
at the top, and the violence of the drops of rain depends upon the quantity 
of peas and the inclination of the box. 


In the hiist scene of "• Kheingold " the gods enter Walhalla over the rain- 
bow bridge. The rainbow is a magnificent stage illusion, and ig produced as 
follows: The prisms are fastened one above the other in front of an electri- 


cal projector. The light from it passing through tiie prisms produces the 
various colors of tlie prismatic spectacle due to the influence of the raindrops. 
As in nature, there appear to be two arches, the primary and the secondary. 


AYind is very useful in licighteniiig the ell'ct^t of stage storms, especially in 
melodramas. Where the effect is well done the pitiless blast is very realistic. 
The wind machine is portable, and maybe placed anywhere the property master 
wishes. 'I'lic wind machine is miulc in vai'ious ways, <»!' whicli the following is 
one: A iieuvy frame is made in whi(;h to set a cylinder provided with paddles, 
and i-cscnd)ling very much the stern-wheels seen on Ohio Kiver towboats. 



Across the top of the cylinder is stretched ;is tight as possible a piece of heavy 
gros-grain silk, but canvas is often substituted instead. The rapid passage 
of the paddles over the surface of the silk or canvas produces the noise of the 
wind. Often traveling companies 
are in theaters where there is no wind 
machine. In this case one of the stage 
hands selects a heavy piece of flexible 
hose and whirls it around his head. 
The extraction of wind from the liose 
is not entirely satisfactory, however. 
Our engraving shows a French 
form of machine for imitating the 
noise of the wind. It consists of a 
cylinder mounted on an axle. The 
staves are triangular in shaj)e, and 
end in a sharp point. Instead of run- 
ning these staves over silk or canvas, 
cords are substituted. The cords are 
secured below, so that they can be 
tightened so as to cut into the staves. 
The cylinder is tnrned by a crank, and by turning it rapidly the friction of the 
cord produces a good reiiresentation of wind. 



The thunder and lightning effect is somewhat complicated, especially the 
thunder, which may be regarded as the result of the combination of a nnmber 
of effects. First a large piece of sheet iron is shaken, which produces an imi- 
tation of sharp, rattling thunder. This fails to give the dull roar, a reverbera- 
tion which is usually heard in 
storms. To produce this effect a 
heavy box frame is made, and over 
it is tightly drawn a calf skin. 
Upon this the stage hand operates 
Avith a stick, one end of which is 
padded and covered with chamois 
skin. This is called the thunder 
drum, and when accompanied 
with a flash of lightning produced 
with the aid of a magnesium flash 
torch renders the illusion very 
realistic. Often two thunder drums are used at the same time. Then the 
''rumble cart" is also used. 'J'he rumble cart is a box filled \\\i\\ some heavy 
material, and mounted upon irreguhirly shaped wheels. 



Our engraving shows a rumble cart as used in the Paris Opera House. 
With tliis a little wind is added from the wind machine, and the rain effect 
is sometimes worked simultaneously. The result of this complicated effect is 
very good, and, of course, the effect may be varied as the stage manager may 
think proper for the opera. 

In large opera houses a more complicated system is employed than those 
which we have just described. It is usually placed against the wall of the 
third fly gallery. It consists of a kind of cabinet with five or six slanting 
shelves. On each shelf are kept a half dozen cannon balls which are retained 
in place by hinged doors. When the signal is given, the stage hands open the 
doors of one or more compartments, and the balls drop down into a zinc-lined 
trough, which is some twenty feet long. The trough being built with inequali- 
ties of surface, the effect is enhanced. At the end of the trough the balls drop 
through the flooring to the gallery below by means of special slants. Arrange- 
ments are provided by which the balls can be stopped before they pass through 
the floor. It will readily be seen that by regulating the number of balls almost 
any thunder effect can be produced. 


Lightning is produced in a number of Avays, of which the following is an 
example. A metal box having a large opening in the top is provided. At the 
bottom is placed an alcohol lamp having a wide-spreading flame. Immediately 
above the flame is a shelf or partition punched with fine holes. This is, of 

course, heated very hot by the flame. The 
mixture which is used to give the effect of 
lightning consists of three parts of mag- 
nesium powder and one part of potassium 
chlorate. This is poured upon the heated 
grill, through the top of the metal box. 
The sudden combustion of the composition 
produces very vivid flashes of lightning. 
A similar device has long been used by pho- 
tographers for taking instantaneous photo- 
graphs in dark places or at night. 

Another method of producing lightning 
flashes is to secure two large files to an 
electric circuit. The files, when they are 
rubbed over each other, produce a series of 
brilliant flashes. 

The nuignesium flash pistol, which we 
show in our engraving, is very useful for 
producing lightning flashes. It consists 




of a barrel which is slotted. The barrel is filled with asbestos which is soaked 
in alcohol. When the lightning effect is to be used the alcohol is lighted and 
magnesium powder is projected into it by means of the blower on the top of 


tlie pistol. It is worked with the thumb. When a thunderbolt is to strike 
an object, a wire is run from the flies to the object which is to be struck. 
A rider runs on the wire. The rider consists of a section of iron pipe. Around, 
it is secured asbestos by means of wire. The asbestos is soaked with alcohol, 
and is lighted just at the instant when it is to be projected upon the object. 



It is usually held by a, string, which is cut. It rushes flaming through the air, 
and produces the effect of a ball of lire striking the object. 

Our engraving illustrates still another method of producing lightning. It 
consists of an electric projecting lantern with attachments for giving the effect. 
The lightning and the clouds are scratched and painted on small pieces of glass. 
Devices are provided for rotating them so that they jiroduce the effect of clouds 
rolling across an apparently immense expanse of sky, as the operator revolves 
the disks one over the other, and the forked lightning seems to shoot across 
the heavens. 


The effect of snow is obtained in a number of ways. Sometimes pieces 
of pajier, linen, or white kid are thrown from one of the intermediate bridges, 
if the theater is provided with them. If well done the effect is very pleas- 
ing. The flakes of snow are usually illuminated by the electric light. It 
is often necessary to have the actors appear with traces of snow upon them. 
One way of doing this is to sprinkle them with soapsuds by means of a birch 
broom before they appear upon the scene. Of course, the soapsuds disappear 
in a few moments, corresponding to the melting of the snow. In the case of 
rich costumes it is impossible to use soapsuds, so that bone shavings or ground 
corn are used instead. This forms a light coating which resembles snow. It 
adheres to the hair, the shoulders, and the creases in the clothing, and pro- 
duces no ill effects uidou the costume. 


An ocean of heaving waters is usually made as follows: Each wave is cut 
out separately. The first row is set uj) at a distance of three or four feet 
between each billow, and the second row is set so as to show in the openings left 
by the first; small boys are usually employed to furnish the motive power. The 
waves are rocked back and forth, not from side to side, and the effect is very 
good. The noise of the surf upon the beach is obtained by allowing two or 
three ounces of bird shot to roll around in a box of light wood lined with tin. 
This is a variation of the rain machine we have already referred to. 


The noise on the stage is produccil l)y wluit is called the crash machine, 
which is one of the oldest im])Iements of imitation on the stage. It is similar 
to the wind machine in construction. It consists of a wheel with paddles set 


at au angle of about forty-five degrees. Upon the top of tlie wheel one end of 
a stout piece of wood is phiced down by fastening the other end to a portion of 
the framework. When the wheel is turned, the slats passing under the station- 
ary piece produce a rattling crash. The princij)le of the machine is illustrated 
by a boy running along a picket fence with a stick, allowing it to slip from 
picket to picket. In many theaters a gigantic rattle is used in place of a 
machine of this kind; it is more portable. 


Conflagrations are jiroduced in a number of ways, and if jiroper precau- 
tions are taken, they are perfectly safe. Usually the buildings which are to be 
destroyed by fire are constructed of separate pieces of stage carpentry, through 
which the painted canvas is attached. They are raised and lowered by means 
of hinges, slides, cords, and pulleys, so as to give the effect of tumbling down. 
The fire jiroper consists of cliemical red fire and powdered lyco])odium used 
separately, the former to give a red glow^ and the latter to repi'esent flames. 
Variously colored electric lights and small pieces of fireworks simulate the leap- 
ing of the sparks. In some cases the shutters on the houses appear to burn off 
and fall down upon the stage; this is accomplished as follows: They are secured 
to the scene with a preparation called " quick match." This is made of pow- 
der, alcohol, and a lamp wick. The window frames and sashes are made of 
sheet iron. They are covered with oakum soaked in alcohol or naphtha. These 
sashes and frames are not fastened to the canvas scene at all, but are placed a 
short distance behind it ujion platforms. The quickest possible touch of flame 
ignites the oakum, and in a moment the fire runs around the sash, and 
nothing is apparently left but the blackened and charred wood. Steam is used 
to represent the smoke, and one method of using it is described below. An 
occasional crash, followed by the ignition of a little powder, produces a sudden 
puff of smoke which gives the spectator the idea of a fall of a rafter. 

Ai)paratns for jn'oducing the smoke of a conflagration is more complicated 
than that for producing lightning. Steam is largely used for producing smoke, 
and is conducted to a place Avhere the smoke is to api)ear, by means of rubber 
hose; but this is apt to cause considerable noise when it escapes into the air. 
This difficulty has been surmounted in at least one stag eiliusiou which we illus- 
trate, this being the '' Magian," the opera of Massenet. It Avas i)articularly 
necessary in the case to have the smoke produced as noiselessly as ^lossible, 
because the orchestral music at the moment of the fire is relatively soft and 
low. The difficulty was surmounted as follows: The steam, generated by a 
boiler in the Paris Opera House, was led to special devices shown in our 
engraving, the steam being admitted to triangular boxes at the apex opposite 
the base of the triangle. The boxes at the point of attachment with the steam 
pipe have a considerable thickness, which gradually diminishes as the base of 


the triangle is approached, so that the steam, Avhich is distributed throughout 
the whole extent of the box, escapes without any noise through a narrow 


orifice between the two faces of the apparatus. In the interior of the boxes 
there are pieces of felt, the principal object of which is to absorb the drops 
of water which are carried along niechaniciilly or whicli may 
condense. The advantage of this arrangement is that it per- 
mits of the disengagement of the steam everywhere where it 
is necessary. Tlie boxes are easily manipulated, and hooks 
fastened to them permit of their being attached to the scenery 
with ease. After a sinqde coupling pipe has been connected 
with a steam pij)e, the ap2)aratus is ready to operate. In the 
op(Ta we have referred to, twenty-nine double boxes are em- 
ployed; seventeen are distributed over the stage at different 
p()ints, and nearly up to the pipe of tlie soHit curtains. The 
twelve others are beneath the stage, and the orifices through 
which the stciarn escapes are flush with the floor. 

The realistic fire clouds and flame in the last act of " The 


Prophet," when the Prophet, learning that he is betrayed, orders the fire of 
the palace of Mtinster, are done by concentrating the arc light upon colored 
gelatine; usually, first yellow for the fumes, then yellow and white, then yellow 
and red, rfed and white, and red and black. The sandstorm in the last act of 
the "Queen of Sheba " is done in yellow and black and pink gelatine before 
the light, and the rain by jiarallel scratches on a black surface, the arc light 
being dimmed and brightened alternately, and the glass turned this way and 
that, so that the parallelism of the drops shall follow a supposed changing of 
the direction of the wind. 


One of the greatest triumphs of Wagner's scenic art is his method of scene 
shifting, which is carried almost to perfection. lie was very much opposed to 
sudden changes of scenes, which are so frequent in Shakespearian plays, as he 
was desirous of avoiding everything Avhich broke the continuity of the dra- 
matic action. In the greater part of his operas he lets a single scene suffice for 
the entire act. Once in a great while he was obliged to provide for a shifting 
of a scene during an act, but in " Rheingolci " the curtain remains, or should 
remain, raised during the whole of the performance. These changes are usu- 
ally accomplished in j)lain sight of the audience, or else the setting of the new 
scene is hidden behind clouds. These effects are accomplished by means of 
successive gauze curtains which are raised and lowered, and by the clever 
use of light which is gradually diminished until almost total darkness reigns. 
The effect is largely enhanced by the orchestra, which symbolizes the changes 
which are taking place. The two best examples of this perfection of scene 
shifting are probably those in "Parsifal," when the magic garden changes 
to the sanctuary of the Holy Grail; and the other effect is in the third act of 
" Gotterdiimmerung," when the warriors place the dead Siegfried upon the bier 
and carry the body up the rocky patli, while the orchestra is playing the funeral 
march of unearthly beauty. As the procession gradually disappears, mists 
rise from the Rliine. The mist gradually thickens into fog, then clouds rise 
upward, hiding the whole scene from view. Then the clouds rise and dissipate 
into mists which finally disclose the moonlit hall of the Gibichungen. The 
effects are produced by steam and a series of gauze curtains. The clouds really 
serve as a screen to prevent the scene shifters being viewed by the audience. A 
satisfactory effect can only be obtained when every detail is carried out with 
the greatest care. The superiority of this method over the conventional curtain 
is apparent. 

Sometimes the gauze curtains are not droj^ped from the flies, but are 
run across from the side. They are "profiled," or, in other words, they are 
irregular in shape, so that they help to produce the effect without any notice- 
able line of demarcation between the two halves of the curtain. The steam 


curtain is often very effective, especially in Wagnerian operas. The steam is 
admitted through a perforated steam pipe in a sink cut, the floor being perfo- 
rated. As the steam curtain is in a straight line, the effect is apt to be a little 


Battle scenes are particularly effective upon the stage when they are well 
produced, and in the midst of a desperate battle a shell is seen to fall and 
burst, carrying death and destruction in its wake. Our engraving shows the 
method of obtaining this result. A ixvpi&r inaclie shell is formed of separate 
pieces glued together. This contains the quantity of powder sufficient to sep- 
arate the pieces and produce the bursting. In the powder there is an electric 



primer which is ignited by a current. The primer is connected by wires which 
go back of tlie scene. At one of the sides of the stage, out of sight of the 
spectator, there is a charge which is also ignited by electricity at the same time 
that the boml) is exploded. At the ])roper moment a man throws the shell and 
touches tlie button, the bomb bursts, and the spectators, hearing the loud re- 
port of the cannon at the same instant, imagine that the harmless paper ])ond) 
is the cause of the formidable explosion. 




The accidents on the stage caused by firearms liave been man}- and numer- 
ous. In melodramas, after great battles, the auditorium becomes filled with 
dense smoke and a peculiarly disagreeable odor of burnt powder; and, owing 
to the great precautions which are necessary to prevent danger of fire, the illu- 
sion is seriously injured. On account of these drawbacks, a French dramatic 
author and pyi'otechnist, M. Philippi, endeavored to produce a successful imi- 
tation of the effects of firing guns, that is to say, the noise, fire, and smoke, 
while at the same time avoiding the dangers and annoyances that have already 
beeu pointed out. The charge consists of a small quantity of fulminate pre- 
pared so as to give a red fire and a light smoke which quickly clears away, leav- 
ing no disagreeable odor, and not affecting the throat. The preparation is 
held in a cavity formed in a small cork which is introduced into the extremity 



of the gun barrel. The firing pin passes through the barrel, as shown in Fig. 
1 in our first engraving, causing the charge to explode through a simple blow. 
By the very simple contrivance of the spring, as shown in Fig. 1, it is possible 
to fit almost any gun, Avooden or otherwise, which the stage director may wish 
to use. 

Our second engraving represents a mitrailleuse formed by the juxtaposition 
of a number of short barrels of thin copper arranged in the same manner as in the 
guns described. 

The firiug pins are left to the action of the spiral springs, when the hooks, 
a, in which they terminate, are driven from tlie catches by means of slider, c. 


which moves along a rod, j^laced back of the barrels, to wliich it is affixed by 
a screw, in order to prevent its acting while the apparatus is being carried, 
A movable bar, m, prevents the springs from being set free while the cliarg- 
ing is being done, and. after they have been set. In order to manipulate, it is 
only necessary to cause the slider to move along the rod. Firing by platoons 
is imitated with great exactness. As soon as the cork makes its exit from the 
barrel, it is thoroughly 2:)ulverized, and the discharges received at the end 
of the muzzle cause no inconvenience. 



The imitation of odors upon the stage is not very often attempted. In 
some plays where a dinner is in progress, more realism is given by introducing 
such things as a French cofPee machine. The penetrating odor of the coffee is 
soon experienced by the audience, and it adds considerably to the effect. An 
English impresario adopted a rather novel plan of imitating the salt odor of 
the ocean for a marine scene. He took a large number of old salt-lierring 
casks and disposed them in the flies and behind the orchestra. There is little 
doubt that they produced the desired effect, as the persistence of the perfume 
of this delicacy is well known. 



In the present chapter the subject of theater secrets will be taken up, 
and it will treat of traps, complicated stage settings, proj)erties, and the means 
of obtaining elaborate effects. 


The trap is one of the oldest and most primitive means of jiroducing stage 
illusions, and it is in use to-day in most theaters and opera houses. The princi- 
ple is very simple, and will be understood by reference to the engraving. The 
actor, singer, or devil who is to make his sudden appearance upon the stage 
stands on a platform which is hoisted to the stage level by means of winches 
turned by the stage hands. 

We also show another variety of trap which is much used in ojieratic and 
ballet performances; it consists of an inclined plane up which the actor or claii- 
setise is carried, the inclined plane itself being masked by scenery. The elab- 
orate system of traps used in the "Asphaleia" stage has already beev 
described in Chapter 11. 





The swan und the swan boat in " Lohengrin " are most interesting proper- 
ties. The apparatus which we illustrate is that used at the Metropolitan 
Opera House, New York City, and is the result of many experiments. To 
understand the action of the Lohengrin swan it will first be necessary to 
describe the setting of the stage. At the back is a river drop; next come 
set water rows, gradating in height to tlie level of the bank, giving the 
effect of water rushes and reeds, and so set that the swan and boat, in passing 
through, are enabled to describe a graceful curve. The foreground is a built- 
up bank the width of the scene. Between the river drop and the first set 
water row there is space enough for the miniature figures of Lohengrin aud 
the swan to pass across the stage before the real Lohengrin and the swan come 
into view. 'Y\\g drop and the set water rows — everything, in fact — give the 
idea of the sluggish Scheldt winding in through the weedy meadows. In 
order to produce the effect, two entirely distinct trucks are used — one for the 
first act, when Lohengrin and his swan wind their way among the reeds; and 
one for the last act, when the swan disa])pears, and the lost brother of Elsa 
takes its place. The problem which confrojited the property master in de- 
signing the first swan and » car, that is to say, the one which was to bring 
fjfihengrin, was to devise a method of projielling the truck which carried 



the swan and the car so that it could be run in a curved direction, adding 
greatly to the naturalness of the illusion, and rendering tlie truck capable of 


being turned in a short space. A three-wheeled truck was built, the top of 
whicli was concealed b}^ draperies painted to match the Avater rows themselves. 
The truck is propelled by two men seated within it, who shove the truck along 


by shuffling with their feet on the floor. The first man steers by means of a 
handle bar which is secured to the vertical' rod which carries the front wheel. 
The swan is fastened to this vertical bar, so that when the direction of the steer- 


ing wheel is changed the swan also changes its direction. The neck of the swan 
is built around a steel spring, and the wings are actuated by levers and strings. 
The second man has nothing to do with steering the car and the swan. His 
duties, besides propelling the car, consist in inclining the head of the swan and 
operating the wings. This is accomplished by means of lines which are invisible 
to the audience. Lohengrin, on reaching the steps at the bridge, in front, gets 
out of the boat or car, and sings his farewell song. The swan then takes his 
departure, drawing away the car. 

Now, in the last act an entirely different mechanism is employed, although 
the change is not perceptible to the audience. In this case it is not necessary for 
the swan to take a sinuous course, and it proceeds in a straight line across 
the stage. In this arrangement a truck is mounted on four wheels and is pushed 
by the men; but in order to ti'ausform the swan into Elsa's brother, it is neces- 
sary to resort to an entirely different system. The swan, instead of being sup- 
ported by a couple of rods, is supported on a parallel which is hinged; it 
is normally held in position by means of cords, so that it shows above the set 
rows and the bank of the river. When the time has arrived for the trans- 
formation to be made, a man at the rear of the truck lets go of the cords which 
hold the swan in position; the jiarallel immediately drops, and is drawn back 
into the truck, carrying the swan with it. At the same instant Elsa's brother 
is raised by a trap which places him in precisely the same position as that occu- 
pied by the swan. Then a clockwork dove descends on a wire, and as the dove 
drops behind the set piece it takes the place of the swan. Lohengrin steps 
into the boat, and the dove carries it off from the stage. The changes are so 
remarkable that the Lohengrin swan must be regarded as one of the most 
successful effects obtained in Grand Opera. 


When the curtain rises on the opera of " Rheingold," which is the prelude 
to the music drama of the " Ring of the Nibelung," the scene represents tlie 
bed of the Rhine. In the center rises a high rock which supports the " Rhein- 
gold," a groat nugget of gold that glimmers on the summit of the rock. The 
three tlhine daughters, Woglinda, Wellgunda, Flosshilda, suddenly appear upon 
tlie scene, swimming with graceful movements about the rock which supports the 
Rheingold. It may be asked how it is possible for the "Rhine daughters to float 
in space while they sing. A reference to our engraving will explain the mystery. 

Each of the singers is supported upon a cradle which is secured to a four- 
wheeled car by an upright post strongly braced. Each of the cars is pushed 
around by two attendants, Avhile a third sits in front and steers. They are 
hidden from view by low scenes wliioh effectually conceal them. We believe 
that in soine opera houses regular tracks have been provided upon which to run 



At the Metropolitan Opera House, during the German opera season of Mr. 
Danirosch, in the spring of 1897, an entirely different device was used. The 
Rhine daughters were suspended from steel cables by means of trolleys. They 


were drawn back and forth by means of wire ropes which ran to the sides of 
the stage. Ropes were also run down to the level of the stage, and they Avere 
swayed back and forth by men who were hidden from view of the audience by 
the set rows Avhich masked the lower j^art of the stage. The arrangement was 
considered to be very satisfactory. 


The illusion which we are about to describe is employed in the " Peau d'Ane " 
for producing the fairy robes in the story — the color of the sun, the color of 
the moon, and the color of the sky — required by the i)lay. In the midst of a 
brilliantly illuminated procession come two porters carrying a large chest by 
means of handles at the end. Having reached the royal throne they place the 
chest on the floor and raise the cover. There is immediately seen a fabric 
the color of the sun, a luminous golden yellow. Afterwards two other porters 
come with a similar chest, which, when opened, exhibits a bluish -white phos- 
phorescent fabric. The third chest contains a robe of a celestial blue. This 
robe is also luminous. The fabrics are moved by the porters to make them 
sparkle. The secret of the illusion is that the bottom of each of these chests 
is capable of being opened over a trap, and by means of an electric lamp the 


electric light is directed upon a light and transparent fabric so that it really 
seems to be on fire. A yellow light sufEuses the fabric of the same color and 
incorporates itself with it. After the cover has been shutdown upon the stage, 
the bottom is closed from beneath, the light is extinguished, the trap is shut 


up, and the chest is carried away by the porters. The same is done with a 
slightly bluish-white fabric and a white light, for the moon-colored fabric; and 
then with blue tarleton and a light with a bluish tinge for the sky-colored 


An opera or ballet which requires a ship taxes the powers of the stage 
macliinist and the property nuister to the utmost. The ship which we illustrate 
was made for the ballet called the '"Tempest," at the Paris Opera House, and 
is superior to most of the ships in the "Corsair" and " L' Africaine. " The 
vessel, starting from the back of the stage, advances majestically, making a 
graceful curve, and stops in front of the proni})ter"'s box. Our illustrations give 
detailed views of the vessel and the setting of the scenery. The sea is repre- 
sented by four })arallel sot rows, the locatioTi of which is indicated in our 
second engraving. 

The ship is carried by wheels that roll over the floor of the stage, and 
is guided in its motio7\ by two grooved bronze wheels, and by a rail formed 
of a simple reversed T-iron which is bolted to the floor. As the ship advances, 



the set water rows open in the center to allow it to pass. As the vessel itself is 
covered up to the water line with painted canvas imitating the sea, it has the 
apjiearance of cleaving the wave. When the vessel reaches the first of the 



water rows the others spread out and increase the extent of the sea. The 
three strips of water in the rear rise slightly. The shifting of the inclined ^nece 
at the front is effected by simply pulling up the carpet which covers it, and 




which enters the groove in the floor in front of the prompter's box. At this 
moment the entire stage seems to be in motion, and the effect is very striking. 
We now come to the details of the construction of the ship. Our engraving 
shows the boat while it was being built. The visible hull of the ship was placed 
upon a large and very strong wooden framework formed of twenty-six trusses. 
In the center there are two longitudinal trusses about three feet in height and 
twenty-five feet in length, upon which are assembled perpendicularly seven other 
trusses. In the interior there are six transverse i:»ieces held by stirrup bolts, and 
at the end of each of these is fixed a tliirteen-inch iron wheel. The entire 
structure rolls U2:)0n these twelve wheels. There are two bronze wheels which 
we have already referred to. In the rear there are two vertical trusses, sixteen 
feet in height, which are joined by ties and descend to the bottom of the frame, 
to which they are bolted. They constitute the skeleton of the immense stern 


of the vessel. The skeleton of the prow is formed of a vertical truss which is 
bolted to the frame. The rest of the construction of the shij) will be readily 
understood by reference to the engraving. The large mast consists of a vertical 
tube, ten feet high, which is set into the center of the frame, and in the inte- 
rior of which slides a wooden spar Avhich is capable of being drawn out for 
the final apotheosis. The mast carries three foot-boards, and a platform for the 
reception of "supers.". It is actuated by a windlass placed upon the frame. 
Panels made of canvas, painted, represent the hull; there are nine on each 
side; above are placed those that cover the prow and the stern. The bowsprit 
is in two parts, one sliding into the other; the front portion is at first pulled 
back in order to hide the vessel entirely in the side scenes. It begins to make 
its appearance before the vessel itself gets under way. Silken cordage connects 
the mast, bowsprit, etc. On each side of the vessel there are bolted five iron 
frames covered with canvas which reach the level of the water line, as shown 
in the above engraving. Upon these stand the '"supers" who represent 
the naiads that are supposed to draw the ship from the beach. At the bow 


there is fixed a frame which supports a diinseiise representing the living 
prow of the vessel. The boat is drawn to the middle of the stage by a cable 
attached to its right side, passing around a windlass placed in the side scenes to 
the left. It is at the same time pushed by stage hands placed in the interior 
of the framework. The trucks or chariots which support the boat are entirely 
covered w4th painted canvas resembling water. As the vessel, freighted with 
harmoniously grouped spirits and uaiads, with fairies and gracefvd genii appar- 
ently swimming about it, sails in upon the stage, puts about and advances, 
and is carried along by the Avaves to the front of the stage, the effect is really 
beautiful, and does great credit to the stage machinist's art. 


A rather curious illusion occurs in ''Don Juan." The monument of 
the Gubernator bears the inscrijition, ''Here revenge awaits the murderer." 
The moment that Don Juan appears in front of the monument, cne of the stage 
hands removes a strip of some opaque substance from behind the transparent 
inscription, which now appears in brilliant letters on the base of the monu- 
ment; the letters being lighted by lamps behind the statue. 

In ballets the dancers are frequently represented as floating in the air. 
This movement may be produced by means of a common sea-saw. In aerial 






ballets and in the appearances of angels, etc., special devices are provided in 
up-to-date theatres, the mechanism nsually being in the form of a trolley. 

The army of demons and ghosts which pass over the stage in the " Frei- 
schiitz " manage in various ways; in some cases a movable scene is used, and in 
others the uncanny creatures are painted upon a canvas roll and are projected, 
by means of a powerful light, upon a scene representing clouds. Hissing, snap- 
ping, screeching, and other hideous noises are produced by means of whips, 
clappers, whistles, rattles, and other like devices behind the scenes. 


The enchanted book in the ojiera " ITans ITeilig " is operated by means of a 
black thread which is manipulated by an attendant behind the scenes, as shown 
in our engraving. 

The palm tree in the ''Queen of Sheba," which bends in the sirocco, is 
caused to sway in the same way, by means of a black line whicli runs back of 
the stage. The branches of the tree are mounted on steel spi'ings. 




In the pvoductiou of Grand Openi it is frequently necessary to represent 
the wholesale destruction of a building or city. This is managed in various 
ways, as in the destruction of tlie Temple of Dagon in the third act of " Sam- 
son and Delilah." The stage setting is very comjjlicated. The temple appears 
to be of great size, and is most imposing. The stairs at the center and at the 
right and the left give access to the various parts of the building. A very 


large number of persons are on the stage during this act. Two columns in the 
middle of the scene are specially noticeable on account of their great size. 
AVlien the moment has arrived for the destruction of the temple, Samson places 
himself between the two columns, and with his outstretched arms hurls the 
columns to the ground. The demolition of the temple quickly follows, each 
piece of scenery falling in the exact place arranged for in advance, so that 
there is no danger of injury to the artists or chorus. The two columns are 
specially interesting, as they are really of great size and weight. In reality the 
columns are hinged to the stage. To the interior of each column is secured an 
iron lever which passes down underneath the floor of the stage. This lever is 
bent like the bascule of a bridge. To the end of this lever is secured a rope 
which passes over pulleys to a counterweight. From the counterweight 
another rope runs over the pulley to the windlass. When the columns are to 


be overthrown, their weight is btikiuced by the counterweight secured to the 
end of the rope, so that there is little shock from the fall. The rapidity of the 
descent of the column is equal to the rapidity of the rise of the counterweight. 
It will readily be seen that these weights can be adjusted to give any effect 
desired. The same windlass serves to raise both counterweights. 


"When first introduced, tlie horse race upon the stage was a decided novelty, 
and it is doubtful if auy stage illusion is more ingenious. The two principal plays 
in which the horse race has been used are Neil [son] Burgess's clever and pop- 
ular play, " The County Fair," and aErench play called *" Paris Port de Mer. " 
In both of these plays three horses, each ridden by a jockey, race upon the stage 
without going out of sight of the spectators, ^^e have here a real effect plus 
ail iHusion. The horses are free from all restraint and really gallop, but the 
ground disappears nnder their feet, moving in a direction opposite to that of the 
run; the landscape, as well as the fences, also fly j^ast in a direction contrar}^ to 
tiie forward motion of the horses. The illusion in both of the plays we have 
mentioned is very similiar, but we think the American invention is prefer- 
able. At the proper moment tlie large screw shown in the lower part of our 
engraving is set in motion by the electric motors. It lifts the mechanism of 
the horse race up to the level of the floor, Avhicli had previously covered it. 
The lights in the theater are turned out, and after a few moments of inky 
blackness the flying horses appear at the side of the stage, in a blaze of 
light, and seem to strain every nerve, fairly flying past the varied landscape. 
Fences and trees disappear behind them with startling rapidity. When at last 
the finish is near, one of the horses gradually Avorks forward and becomes the 
winner by a neck as he approaches the judges' stand. After an instant of dark- 
ness a flash of light follows, and the horses are pulled u]} in front of the judges' 
pavilion and the race is Avon. 

This result is accomplished by means of three flexible endless platforms 
passing over rollers at the sides of the stage. These moving platforms enable 
the horses to be in rapid motion Avithotit actually moving forward, and, as a 
matter of fact, instead of nu)ving forward, they are Avell secured by Avire rope 
traces. As the race nears the finish, the platform on Avhich the Avinning horse 
is stationed is gradually slipped forAvard on a track provided for the purpose, 
the actual movement being, of course, only a few feet. The space between the 
fence ant! the scenery is fourteen feet, Avhich gives ample space for free action 
of the horses. The fence in the foreground consists of a number of pickets 
fastened to an endless belt. 'J'he pickets run in guides Avhicli hold them 
rigidly i)erpendicular during their passage over the stage. The scenery back 
of the stage is carried by two powerful rollers, and is turned by means of an 
electric motor so arranged tliat it may be unwound at any rate of speed. 



]\[uch of the effect of the scene is due to the speed with which the electric 
lights are flashed from extreme darkness to brilliant light. The illusion is 
further heightened by the way in which the horses' manes are tossed about. 


This is accomplislied in a very novel manner. In the extreme lower riglit- 
hand corner of our engraving will be seen a blower actuated by an electric 
motor. Air from this blower is conducted to a large funnel which discharges 


the air just out of sight of the audience. This causes the horses' manes to be 
blown in all directions. All of the complicated electrical apparatus is driven 
from a single switchboard at the right, which is usually manipulated by Mr. 
Burgess himself. Our engraving is from " The Electrical World." 

Our other engraving shows the arrangement as used in the French play, 
*' Paris Port de Mer. " The tracks are formed of an endless matting of cocoa- 
nut fibre. This belt runs over drums at each side of the stage and is made 
taut by a third drum on a level M'itli tlie stage floor. The belt is supported by 
a series of wooden rollers which are i)Iaced very close together and revolve on 
pivots. The drum at the left of the stage is driven directly by the motor. Tlie 
fence is mounted on an endless belt, as in the Burgess illusion, and is operated 
by an air motor. The panorama, which unwinds in a minute and a quarter, 
is operated by hand. 

Mr. Neil[son] Burgess devised another jilan for producing the illusion of 
a horse or other race. Two or more disks or wheels of appropriate size are 
secured to a common shaft so that they will rotate independently. The wheels 
are of different diameters, so that the larger will afford a clear j^ath for the 
contestants. The racers are held back by wires which pass over windlasses, 
and their relative positions may be governed by paying out or drawing in the 
wire. The runners, of course, cause the rotation of the disk as in a horse 
power, and this gives the illusion of real running. An appropriate background 
scene may be used, and the shaft carrying the disks may be moved across the 
stage by journaling it in a four-wheel truck, the flooring being removed so as 
to permit of this horizontal movement. 

An American, Mr. Frank M. Chapman, invented another scheme for pro- 
ducing the same illusion. He devised a circular track, or turntable, somewhat 
the same as that used in horse powers. A panorama is carried by rollers, and 
works across the proscenium opening. One or more horses are placed upon 
the turntable at any desired point between the panorama and the front of the 
stage, and are then started. They are held back in the same manner as in 
the ordinary treadmill, and will not advance until the wire is slackened. In 
the meantime the jianorama is moving in the direction opposite to that in 
which the horses are supposed to be moving. This operation is accomplished 
by means of the gear connection between the rollers of the panorama and the 
horses actinia; on the surface of the turntable to turn the same. 



'' Siegfried " is the second drama and the third evening of the " Ring of 
the Nibehmg." It is devoted to the life and adventnres of yonng Siegfried, 
from his childliood nnder the care of the dwarf smith Mime, until he wakens 
Briinnhilde.from her long sleep on the fire-guarded rock on which she was put 
to sleep by Wotan as a punishment for disobedience in sheltering Sieglinde. 
The first act of " Siegfried " is particularly charming. It is called the " Welding 
of the Sword." The scene is laid in a large rocky cave with openings leading 
out to the forest. The forge is built out of rocks, the bellows alone appearing 
to be artificial. A large anvil and a few tools complete the equipment of the 

siegfiued's force. 

forge. As the curtain rises, JMime is seen hammering the sword, but the result 
does not seem to be satisfactory. Suddenly Siegfried enters, clad in a dress of 
skins, and accompanied by a bear wliich he captured, ^fime retires behind 
the forge. After Siegfried and ]\Iime have indulged in a dialogue, the former 
jumps up and goes towards tlie sword; grasping it, he tries it with his hand, 
and finally strikes it upon the anvil, whereupon it is broken. 

Siegfried forces ]\lime to tell him the story of his parentage. Mime then 
brings out the pieces of the broken swoi'd which the dying Sieglinde had left as 
a legacy to the child. The young hero now begins to set to work to forge the 
sword, and Mime chuckles with delight when he thinks that after Siegfried 
has forged the sword and killed the dragon he will ])()ison him. The scene 
of the welding of the sword is magniticent, and is ])e<'uliarly Wagnerian in its 


Supported by a square frame of hewn timbers is the bellows, which is com- 
posed of hides fastened together with rings. The leatlier cylinder rises and 
falls by means of a lever secured to the top. Siegfried goes bravely to work. 
Going to the forge, he heaps coals upon the open hearth, and gradually fans 
the fire; it rises and rises nntil there is a roaring blaze. The light shines 
fitfully npon Siegfried and upon the walls of the cave. At each stroke of the 
bellows handle the fire rises higher and higher. Siegfried places a crucible in 
the midst of the fire, and in it puts the pieces of the broken sword. When 
the pieces appear to be melted, he takes up the crucible with a pair of tongs 
and pours the fluid metal into a clay mold. Grasping the mold with a piece 
of cloth, he carries it to the rough-hewn tempering log trough and throws it 
iu. The heated metal coming in contact with the water causes the steam to 
rise. When Siegfried judges that the sword has cooled sufficiently, he takes 
it from the trough and, striking it a smart blow, breaks the mold which sur- 
rounds it. He then heats the blade of the sword in the forge and proceeds to 
the anvil. At each stroke of the hammer the sparks fly, producing a most 
realistic impression. He now places the sword in a vise, files it, and then rivets 
on the handle. 

At last Siegfried finishes the sword and he says: 

" Rescue! Rescue! 

Welded anew! 
To life once more I have waked thee. 

Dead hast lain 

In ruins long. 
Now flashest thou fiercely and fair. 

lilend thou the blatant 

Now with thy blaze! 

Fell thou the false ones. 

Rend thou the rogues! 
See, Mime, thou smith — 
So smiteth Siegfried's sword! " 

— T. P. .T<irl:>tnn'>t irrtion. 

He now wishes to test its temper, and, raising it aloft, he l)rings it down, 
giving a tremendous blow to the anvil, which is cleft in twain, sparks following 
the anvil to the ground. Those who have never seen " Siegfried " can form but a 
faint idea of the realism of this scene, which taxes the resources of the property 
master to the utmost. It will now be asked how the very clever illusion of 
the forge and anvil is produced. Our engraving gives an idea of the rear of 
the forge. It consists of a rough table, the front of whicii is covered with 
canvas to represent rocks. The top of the table is quite well hidden from the 
spectators by painted work which masks the front of the forge so that the 
mechanism for obtaining the light effects from the top is disguised. The gas 
is connected with the forge by means of two pieces of rubber hose, one of which 
is provided with a small burner which is kept constantly lighted. Before the 
curtain is raised it is not noticeable, as it is turned down until the flame 
is l)lue. AVhen Siegfried goes to the forge and heaps ou the coal, thfe stage 


hand called the '^ gas man " turns on the gas so that it flows through the other 
pipe, which ends in a rose burner at the top of tlie forge. The instant the 
gas reaches the rose burner it is ignited by the jet which was kept lighted. By 


manipulating the valve, the quantity of gas is regulated so that the flame burns 
high or low as desired. As soon as the Are is supposed to rise to any height 
the glare of it is cast upon Siegfried's face. This is accomplished by means of 
incandescent lamps which are arranged one on each side of the rose burner and 

three just in front, in the painted work 
which masks the front of the forge. 
The lamps are arranged on two circuits ; 
those in tJie middle on one circuit, 
and those on the back of the forge on 
another circuit. The wires run into 
the Avings, and the electrician lights 
them and dims them, as required, by 
means of rheostats. Steam is used to 
give the effect of smoke. This is ad- 
TiiE DIVIDED ANVIL, mitted by a stage hand in the wings. 


The quantity of steam admitted depends upon the height to -wliich the fire is 
supposed to have risen. It may thus be seen that the effect of the lighting is pro- 
duced by a clever combination of gas, electricity, and steam, which must be com- 
bined with the greatest possible art. In the old forge at the Metropolitan Opera 
House, which was burned in the fire, the effect was obtained in a slightly differ- 
ent way. A man was placed under the forge, and Avhen the flame Avas to rise, 
he blew lycopodium powder into it from a box underneath the top of the forge. 
A quantity of the powder was blown out at each stroke of the bellows. The 
l)urticles of the volatile powder caught fire when they came in contact Avith the 
gas jet, thus producing the effect of the gaseous flames from blacksmith's coal 
and its sparks. The new arrangement is considered to be more desirable. 

Under the top of the forge will be noticed a shelf on Avliich are kept two 
swords. This enables Siegfried to substitute the swords as becomes necessary, 
and here is kept the sword with a firmly riveted hilt which he finally uses to 
strike the anvil. 

The trough is also connected with a steam pipe. When Siegfried throws 
into the trough the mold which encases the sword, and when he tempers the 
sword, the steam rises. The steam is supplied from a drilled iron pipe. This 
pipe is connected with the steam pipes at the side of the stage by means of a 
hose Avhich is carefully covered from view. The anvil upon which Siegfried 
strikes in forging the sword has one side covered by a piece of corrugated iron, 
six by twelve inches, and another piece of iron is over it, as shown in our 
engraving. It is arranged so that when the bow piece of iron at the top comes 
in contact with the lower piece a momentary short circuit is produced, so that 
at each stroke of the hammer a shower of sparks is produced. AYhen Siegfried 
raises his sword and brings it down upon the anvil, he really strikes a spring 
which lets one half of the anvil fall, its under and outer side having the cor- 
ner cut off for the purpose, as will be seen from our engraving. 

There are other interesting properties and illusions in " Siegfried. ' ' We have 
just seen how Siegfried has forged his sword " Kescue; " now begin a series of 
wonderful adventures which only end with his death in the " Gotterdammerung." 
The second act of " Siegfried " takes place in a forest in which is seen a great 
linden tree. The whole stage is covered with rocks, and at the left, at the back, 
is a cave which shelters "Fafner," a giant who has taken the form of a 
dragon in order to protect the treasures concealed in the cave, Avhich include 
the mysterious ring and the Tarnlielmet, which gives the i)ossessor unlimited 
power. Mime and Siegfried approach. Mime showing the way to tlie cave. 
WwwQ then leaves Siegfried alone to his fate. The youthful hero sits down 
beneath the linden tree and listens to the voice of the bird. He wishes tliat 
he could understand its language, aiul, cutting a reed, he nuikes a rude 
musical instrument with which he attempts to imitate the bird's notes, but the 
result is a failure. He then takes up his silver horn and blows several blasts 
upon it. He has, however, no comprehension as yet of the song of the birds, 
but the sound of the horn has awakened Fafner, Avho appears in the mouth of 
the cave. The hideous creature moves forward from the cave and says: *" Who 

TlfEATEn SECRJ^T.'^. uljj 

art thon ? " Then, after a moment's coiiversution. Fafner opens liis tremeiitloiis 
jaws, displaying liis teeth. Siegfried seizes liis sword and confronts Fafoer. 
Tlie now enraged dragon belches forth a snlphurons breath, wliile his eyes gleam 
with a very wicked light. The young Siegfried seems no match for the enor- 
mous beast. The dragon has almost seized Siegfried -when the latter succeeds 
in wounding him slightly. The aninud rears up on his fore feet, with tlie inten- 
tion of hurling himself upon the intruder in order to crush him. In doing 
this, however, he exjioses his breast so that Siegfried is enabled to plunge his 
sword into the monster's heart. Fafner rears up still higher, and finally sinks 
upon the ground, and the dying monster sings of the race of the giants and 
tlie curse of the dwarfs. At last he dies, and as Siegfried withdraws the sword, 
his hand becomes sprinkled Avith blood. He puts his fingers to his mouth to 
suck off the blood. He now hears the forest bird again, and this time he is 
able to understand the language. 

The fact of the matter is, it would have been much better if Wagner had 
written the music-drama so that the dragon would have been killed off 
the stage. Having once been jmt into the opera, it was, of course, impossible 
to get along without the ugly beast, but the tendency is now to retire the 
dragon as far as 2:)ossible to the rear of the stage. The dragon which we illus- 
trate is the creation of Mr. Siedle, theproperty master of the Metropolitan Opera 
House. Fafner is, without doitbt, the finest of his race. He gives one the 
idea of something half siuike, half crocodile, and somewhat resembles some of 
tlie now e.xtiuct animals of bygone geological times. It cannot be said that the 
dragon is a thing of beauty, unless we can admit there is a beauty of ugliness. 
Fafner is supremely ugly, but, from a scientific point of view, it is doubtful if 
there are any properties connected with modern Gr;ind Opera which are more 
interesting. The problem which presents itself to the property master in 
building the dragon is an interesting and ditficult one. As the dragon 
must be arranged so that it can be worked by two men, Avho are inside it, it 
must be capable of considerable movement and must give the apjiearance 
of great size. In the i)resent instance the head of the dragon was modeled in 
clay, and each line and horny scale and boss was the result of careful calcula- 
tion. After the head was modeled, a plaster of paris mold was taken from it, 
and from this another plaster cast was made, upon which the actual head was 
built up out of papier mache. After the papier mache work was finished, it 
was painted dark green; different shades were, of course, used. 

The body of the dragon is of cloth; tlie legs aiul feet are not attached to 
it, but are put on by the two men who operate the dragon. The feet and 
claws of the dragon are pulled on by combination overalls and boots. The 
man who takes the part of the fore feet wears a heavy belt with hooks on the 
side to carjT the Avires Avhich furnish the current for the electric lamps in the 
eyes, and a rubber hose by which the dragon is enabled to breathe a sulphurous 
breath. A long lever of iron runs from Fafuer's head through his body, and by 
means of this the man who plays the hind legs moves the head up and down; 
the shoulders of the first man being the fulcrum. Independently of this, the 



' ^s^ 


m;ii"i in the fore legs moves tlio upper jaw and the feelers. 
The painted cloth body might be likened to a camera bel- 
lows. The antennae can be moved by means of cords, add- 
ing greatly to the terrible appearance of the monster. The 
enormous red tongue can also be moved by the first man, 
and the jaws are freely hinged. The eyes are set in what 
ajipear to be enormous saucers; they are covered over with 
painted silk. Behind this are incandescent lamps which are 
turned on and off fitfully by one of the stage hands behind 
the drop scene which represents the mouth of the cave. 
The wires run to the tail, as does also the steam pipe which 
furnishes the breath of the monster. The steam is allowed 
to escape from the mouth and through the nostrils. The 
tail consists of a number of sections of wood articulated 
l)y means of hinges. It is covered with painted cloth. 
When the first act is about over, the two men who are to 
act as the legs of the dragon get inside the body and are 
tlien ehiborately fastened by the stage hands. They then 
waddle along to the opening of the cave, assisted by several 
of the stage hands, as the enormous body is very difficult 
to manage. One man works the steam while the other 
attends to the lighting of the eyes. After Siegfried kills 
the dragon, the stage hands go at once to extricate the 
two men from their uncomfortable position. The singer 
who takes the part of Fafner may Ije disposed in two ways; 
he may be either under the raised bridge upon Avhich the 
monster stands, or he may bo in the wings. In either 
case he sings through a speaking trumpet, which adds to 
the effect. The bird which is seen going across the stage 
and leading Siegfried to Briinnhilde is actuated by clock- 
work. When it starts, the clockwork is set in motion 
and makes the wings flap. Another bird, Avhich appears 
to the audience to be the same, crosses the stage on 
wire from right to left, further back, and a third one is 
seen at the left, still further away. This one Siegfried fol- 
lows to the rock of the Walkure, just as the curtain falls 
upon the wonderful scene. 

The third act of " Siegfried " opens in a wild, rocky 
path at the foot of a high mountain. The scene is laid at 
night, and there is considerable thunder and lightning. 
Before the entrance to a cavern in the rock stands Wotan, 
who never appears as a greater bore than in this act of 
" Siegfried. " After a seemingly interminable conversation 
with l^h'da. she vanishes and Siegfried ajipears. After 
considerable conversation between Siegfried and Wotan, 


Siegfried advances to the latter, holding his sword, which has once before been 
shattered on the same shaft, in order that he may reach the summit of the 
mountain upon which Briinnhilde sleeps, jjrotected by the sea of flames. 
Siegfried fights with Wotan and hews the spear in pieces. A fearful flash of 
thunder follows; flames and steam rise in front, and Siegfried's horn is heard 
as he plunges into the fire. At length the fierce glow pales, the scene changes, 
and represents the summit of a rocky mountain peak, as in the third act of the 
Walkiire, and Briinnhilde is seen in deep sleep. 

The illusion is very clever indeed. Wotan's spear, as shown in our engrav- 
ing, consists of a divided shaft, one part of which telescopes with the other 
for a few inches. The upper part of the spear is forced down over the lower, 
thus compressing a coiled spring. AVhen the spring is compressed sufficiently, 
it is caught by a catch. Now, when Siegfried strikes the spear Avith his sword, 
Wotan presses a button which releases the upper jiart of the spear. The coiled 
spring is sufficiently strong to throw it off from the lower part. As the upper 
part rises, it lights matches secured by holders in the center of the lower part 
of the spear. A piece of sandpaper is secured to a little door which opens 
in the shell of the top part of the spear. As the sandpaper ])asses the matches, 
it lights them, setting fire to a small quantity of gun cotton, which lights flash 
paper concealed in the end of the spear. A lightning flash and a flash of 
thunder usually accompany the breaking of the spear. Formerly an electric 
spear was used, but it was found that the matches were simpler and more 

Arrangemeiits are provided at the Metropolitan Opera House so that an 
entire curtain of steam can be made to rise across the whole length of the 
stage, a narrow section of flooring being taken up, and a perforated section 
put in instead. A perforated steam pipe is also provided. 


A very pretty electrical effect has been introduced in the garden scene in 
" Faust. " Siebel, the would-be lover of Marguerite, advances to a bed of tulips, 
some red, some white, and some gold, to pluck a bouquet that he would leave 
upon her window to speak for him. Concealed in the corolla of each flower is 
an electric lamp. Now Mephistopheles had long before warned Siebel : 

" Every flower that you touch 
Shall rot and shall wither." 

But, unheeding, Siebel plucks a golden tulip which shines as he lifts it up to 
him. A fine wire which carries the current keeps the lamp aglow and is not 
seen as it trails along the foliage. No sooner does Siebel examine it than 


Mephistopheles, partly concealed, raises liis liaud; the current is cut otT, and 
the flower grows dull and withers perceptibly. 

" What, faded! Ah me! 

Thus the Sorcerer foretold at the fair: 
That should I touch a blooming flower. 
It shall wither. 

But my hand in holy water FlI bathe — 
See, now, will they wither?" 

Then with his other hand he plucks a red tulip, a white and a golden one and 
holds them up triumphantly, each glowing with a rich light ; for Mephistopheles 
may not raise his hand against the power of what has been blessed. Then he 
changes the flowers from one hand to the other, and instantly they fade ; but 
they gleam again when, remembering it was with the other hand that he had 
touched the holy water, he transfers them back again. This beautifnl illnsion 
is easily produced. 


The electric firefly which has been used in the play of the " Kaffir Diamond " 
depends upon a somewhat similar device. Tiny incandescent lamps are affixed 
to the reeds and rushes in a swamp, each lamp being connected by means of 
a fine wire to a storage battery, through the medium of wires in a switch- 
board. Our engraving shows the manner of placing the lamp behind the 
weeds and rushes. The operator, in his hiding place, by pressing upon the keys 
of the switchboard, alternately lights up one and then another lamp, so that it 
would appear to be a single flrclly darting hither and. thither; or, by pressing a 
number of keys, any number up to a dozen or more could be lighted. 

In " Die Walkiire," a red incandescent lamp is placed in a tiu box which 
is painted so as to represent a knot in the tree. AYIien tlie light is turned on, 
it causes a red glow on the hilt of the sword, and discovers it to be Siogmund. 

77/ AM 7'A7.' SECh'ETS 




We have already given several interesting examples of electricity upon the 
stiige. We now present some engravings of the electric torch and electric 
jewels for which the theatrical world is indebted to the Erench inventor M. 
Ti-ouve. The electric torch Avas devised for use in ^[. Saint-Saens' " Ascanio. " 
In the mythological ballet, Phoebus appears among the ]\Inses, holding the torch. 
of Genius in his liand; the torch is of moderate size and elegant form, and innst 
be brilliantly illuminated from twelve to fifteen minutes at each ])erformance. 
An incandescent lamp scarcely concealed under colored glass jewels solves the 
problem. Tiie principal difficulty was to light this lamp A\ithont the use of 
conductors, which should furnish the electrical current desired. ]\l. Trouve 
constructed some portable accumulators which are placed in the torch. The 
accumulators are six in number; the first three occupy the upper part of the 
torch, and the three others the lower part. They are of the Plante variety and 
have lead plates. Each of the elements is ])laced in the interior of a cylindri- 


cal piece of thin glass covered witli gutta perclia. The batfcei-y as a whole 
weighs four hundred and twenty grams (fifteen ounces), and is capable of 
furnishing electricity to supply the torch for two presentations. A small con- 
tact button is placed above two buttons, so that at the least pressure the lamp 
is lighted, and it is extinguished when the pressure ceases. Our engravijig 
shows Madame Torri in the rSle of Phoebus. 







I^^^^H^B^^^^Ss^ i<'Cm 









__ __v;--'-^^ir ^r- 




M. Trouvo also invented what are termed electric jewels, in wliich glass 
jewels cut into facets are illuminated by a small elec^tric light placed back of 
them. TIk! jewels really consist of small lenses whose foci have been accurately 
determined. The luminous source itself always occu])ies an invariable posi- 
tion, that is to say in the center of the sphere, which is studded with the glass 
jewels. I'he lamp is connected with a small battery through the medium of a 
flexible conducting cord which is concealed under the garments^ The battery 
is put into the pocket or attached to some part of the dress. Our engraving 



shows a number of these electric jewels which are used not only for theatri- 
cal purposes, but for a novelty in dress. 

The jewels are very effective when attached to a ballet costume, and we 
give on page 341 an illustration of a danseuse as she appears when adorned 
with this glowing electric jewelry. 

Another interesting effect which is produced with the aid of a small elec- 


trie battery carried upon the person, is used in the duel scene in " Faust," and 
is also due to M. Trouve. It is rather simpler than the device which we will 
show for producing sparks from the sword in the duel. The two swords 
and the two cuirasses are extremities of the poles of a bichromate battery car- 
ried by the combatants. Wlien the two swords come in contact they cause 
bright sparks to flash, and when one of the swords touches the cuirass of 
the adversary, a fifteen candle-power lamp is lighted, and remains lighted 
during the contact of the point of the sword with the cuirass; the lamp 



is, of course, in front of the cuirass. lu furious sword ])]ay the two swords 
touch reciprocally the two opposite cuirasses; both lamps are simultaneously 
illuminated and give a considerable light around the combatants. This appar- 
atus is not only useful in the theater, but has been tried in the fencing gallery 
during an assault; the apparatus shows the location of the blows without the 
possibility of contesting it. 




In the duel scene in " Faust," a striking effect was obtained a few years ago 
at the ]\Ietropolitan Opera House. It will be remembered that the soldier 
Valentine, brother of Marguerite, fights with Eaust. As Faust is unfamiliar 
with the use of the sword, the devil, in the guise of Mephistopheles, stands 
by, sword in hand, ready to aid him, iuteri:)osing his weapon when Valentine 
presses the student too closely. In former productions of the opera there was 
nothing apparent to indicate the possession of supernatural powers by Mephis- 
topheles. The duel takes place at a part of the stage where two plates of 
copper are sunk into the flooring. These plates are connected with the electi'ic 
current. Copper nails are driven into one shoe of Valentine and one shoe of 
Faust, and the wires run up their bodies to the swords. When they draw 
their swords they insert the wire into the hilts by means of a plug; they are 
then connected with the copper plate. Every time that Mephistopheles inter- 
poses the sword and strikes up the contending weapons, which are in contact, 
the sparks fly furiously and the weird crackling sounds are heard as in lightning. 
When Valentine receives his death wound, he throws out the plug connecting 
his sword with the electric current, and as he falls the sword flies from his 
hand, and there is nothing to show the presence of any electrical connection. 


The famous skirt dance may be defined as peculiar in the sense that it is not 
a dance as generally understood in stage parlance. The performer, standing 
on the stage and dressed in voluminous attire, requiring, it is said, over a hun- 
dred yards of material, by slow motions, comprising more arm movements than 
foot movements, causes the light drapery to wave about in most graceful 
curves. The variety of shapes and contours that can be produced by a skilled 
performer is endless. To add to the effect, wands are used to extend the reacli 
in the direction of the lines of the arms, and the gi'eater control thus obtain- 
able adds immensely to the effect. This dance was made famous by Miss Loie 
Fuller, whose reputation is now world-wide. 

Our illustration which forms the frontispiece of the present work is designed 
to show the methods adopted to produce the wonderfully beautiful effects which 
have characterized the dance. The performance is executed in a darkened the- 
ater. A number of projectors are distributed, four in the wings and one below 
the stage, so as to be adapted for flooding the figure of the danseuse with light. 
A pane of heavy plate glass set in the floor of the stage permits the projector 
beneath it to produce its effects. Each projector has mounted in front of it a 
disc about three feet in diameter, perforated near its periphery Avith a number 
of apertures. Colored gelatine is fastened over most of these apertures, a 


different color being nsed for eiicli opening, except wliere one may be left for 
white liglit. The operators at the projectors follow the movements of tiie per- 
former, and can prodnce an almost infinitely extended range of effects by vary- 
ing the colors thrown by each projector. 

The theater being pitch dark, the dancer can be brought slowly into view 
and can be made to slowly disappear by manipulation of the projectors. She 
can appear in any color or combination of colors. It is needless to say that it 
is a comjiosite performance in the sense that the dancer fills only a part of 
the functions; skilled operators are absolutely essential at the projectors. 

One of the prettiest effects is produced by a magic lantern operated from 
the front of the stage and shown on the left hand in the cut. The operator 
projects upon the drapery different figures and designs, using regular lantern 
slides, making the flowing, misty drapery act as the screen for his projections. 
It is obvious that he mnst give great attention to his focusing. 

The skirt dance has won the attention of artists, and some very beautiful 
statues have been based upon its cloudlike variations of form. The slight 
idealization required in representing the soft forms of waving drapery in the 
solid material of the sculptor's art has given most graceful and characteristic 

One of the most startling effects is the flame dance. The filmy veil is pure 
white, but as the dancer approaches the opening in the stage floor the veil turns 
to a fiery red, and the flames wave to and fro as if they were being blown by the 
wind. Shadows are then thrown on the veil and produce an exact reproduc- 
tion of heavy black smoke, which suddenly changes to an ardent flame again^ 
as if the fire had broken out anew. 


The nautical arena, or aquatic tlieater, was a few years ago one of the sensa- 
tions of London and Paris. Spectacular entei'tainments in which water played 
a prominent part go back to the time of the Romans, Avhen portions of the 
arena of the amphitheater, or sometimes the entire arena, were flooded, and 
mimic sea figlits took place in galleys carryi]]g gladiators who fought to the 
death. The Paris aquatic theater is a very handsome building. It is situ- 
ated in the liue St. Ilonore, and is called the " Arene Nautiqve.'''' It is 
intended to fill two distinct roles ; first, it is a circus for equestrian, gym- 
nastic, and aquatic performances, while during the summer it becomes a 
huge swimming bath. The building was originally used for a cyclorama, 
but was entirely remodeled when put to its new use. The circular hall 
is one hundred and ten feet in diameter. In the lower part of this hall is a 
circular tank seventy-nine feet in diameter, with a gallery running around it. 
Over this gallery and the water are constructed tiers of seats, as shown in our 
engraving. In the center is placed a powerful hydraulic cylinder. To the 
top of the piston rod is affixed a large iron plate forty-four feet in diameter. 
This plate can be sunk below the level of the water, the tank then being 
available for aquatic performances. It is the work of a moment to raise the 
plate. A firm floor is then provided for horses and men. 

This arrangement permits of the water being maintained at such a height as 
to provide a shallow tank for those who cannot swim. The rise of the piston is 
caused by a compound pump, and the plate is guided in its movement by guide 
bars fixed vertically around the outer rail. A catch is provided to secure the 
plate in position. When it has attained a little more than its proper height, it 
is caused to rotate slightly on its vertical axis by an endless screw. B\^ this 
means the ends of the radial girders are brought over twenty shoes fixed to the 
twenty columns; by letting a little of the water escape, the radial girders settle 
themselves firmly down upon the shoes. The weight of the whole mass is 
about twenty-five tons. When the arena is to be used for performances in 
the ring the plate is covered with a mat of esparto Aveighing about one thou- 
sand pounds. It is brought in on two iron trucks. Our engraving represents 
the removal ol the mat before sinking the staj^e. 



This is the title of an illustrated lecture which has heeu very popular in 
Berlin, and which was also produced in New York a few years ago. The lec- 
ture as nsed in the United States, was rewritten hy Mr. Garrett P. Serviss. 
The first scene is the reproduction of a solar eclipse as seen from t!ie shores of 
one of the small lakes called Ilavel, near Berlin, on the morning of August 
19, 1887. 

On this morning the sun arose with the greater jjortion of its disc obscured 
by the moon. As the sun ascended, the crescent diminished, and at the 
moment of totality a Avonderful corona flashed into view. The scene gives the 
audience an idea of what tlie astronomers mean when they attempt to describe 






this wonderful phenomena. The moon t^lowly before 
the sun nntil the earth is fully ilhiminated and the sky and 
landscape assume a normal appearance. Interesting as these 
imitations of celestial and terrestrial ])henomena are, the 
manner in which they are effected is still more so, and our 
engravings give a peep behind the scenes 
^ and explain the means by which the 
illusion is produced. The trees and 
\\Xc:,T\A\^ ^ foreground are set in front of a trans- 
2Darent scene upon the back of wincli 
the opaque parts are silhouetted in l)l;ick. 


leaving the sky and water translucent. 

Two optical lanterns are provided, one of which carries 
the crescent and the other the corona slide. They a,re 
mounted n2)on a box movable along the inclined side of 
a triangular frame by a drum and cord, and are thus 
enabled to imitate the appearance and course of the heav- 
enly bodies. The screen immediately below the horizon 
intercepts the image of the luminary below that line. 

The waves that play niion the surface of the lake are 




produced by a slide in a third lantern. This slide consists of glass screens 
upon which waves are painted. These screens are actuated by three eccentric- 
ally mounted rods set in motion by clockwork. The interference with these 
waves permits ribbons of light, of constantly varying position and width, to fall 
upon the screen and to give the effect of water ruffled by a breeze. The play 
of color and intensity of light produced by the revolutions of the earth and its 
passage througli the penumbra and umbra of the moon's shadow, and the 
development of full sunlight, are perfectly coordinated to the changing condi- 
tion of their source, the sun. This part of the illusion is effected by the 
management of the foot and border lights. 





These lights are red, white, and blue incandescent electric lamps arranged in 
series, and controlled by a rheostat, permitting every possible combination and 
intensity of tint, and to the intelligent manijinlation of which is due much of the 
success of the scene. Our interest is intensified by a view froni a distance of 
five thousand miles, showing the lunar mountains and other prominent features. 
The plaster image of the moon, viewed through a circular piece of gauze set in 
a black drop, is ten feet in diameter. The change of phase is produced from 
the light thrown from the lanterns, as shown in the illustration. 

The splendid scenes of Mt. Aristarchus and Cape Laplace are sjilendid 
pictures and are shown from the height of two and one half miles. By trigo- 
nometric mensuration of the shadows, and application of their values by per- 
spective, the artist is enabled to represent the general features of the landscape 
with fidelity. These scenes are lighted from behind by four arc lights, by 
bunch lights and footlights, and the combined candle power is eight thousand 






five Imndred oauclles. This brings out the contrast cf tlie laudscape in tliis dead 
world. From tlie moon surface, the earth always seems to occupy the same 
place, and reflects to the moon a part of the light received from the sun. The 
phenomena of earthlight and sunligiit upon the moou are given by transparent 



places in the scene rejiresenting sky, and lit up by a lantern. The mountain 
on either side has each a lantern, whose light is permitted to fall on the drop 
by gradually lowering the screen. A modified arc liglit illuminates the front 
of the scene and gives the earth light. 

Probably the most unique of the cosmic phenomena is a solar eclipse viewed 
from the moon. The earth is an opaque disc with a red gelatine band 
attached to its circumference with white muslin, and suspended by two hooks 
set in a shelf extending across its back. A coat of i)hosphorescent paint gives 
the glow. The sun consists of a box with a cover of gelatine on which the sun 
is painted; a semicircular wooden arm incloses a reflector and supports six 
incandescent lamps set inwardly. The box hooks into a piece of leather 
with a circular aj^erture coincident with the sun's face, and sewed into the 
drop. Holes in the drop allow the light from an arc light to imitate 
the stars. The surface of the moon is painted on canvas supported on 
hinged props having spread feet. A stifE rod joins the hinges and forms the 
horizon. A footlight is placed within this tent-like cover to illuminate it. 
The drop curtain carrying the sun box is raised by a windlass, and as the sun 
rises, accompanied by the stars, the footlight is turned up. In passing behind 
the earth, the sun imparts a crimson view to the earth's atmosphere, which the 
footlight transfers to the moon until the extinction of the solar disk. The 
return to earth is marked by a view of that part of the earth surface most resem- 
bling the moon's, the Tyrolean highlands. The afterglow of sunset, moonrise, 
and a lunar eclipse are depicted with great accuracy. The gradual movement 
of a deep red gelatine film across the lantern-slide holder causes the moon to 
appear to enter and emerge from the earth's shadow. A sunset on the Indian 
Ocean and moonrise on the first scene concludes the lecture. A series of stere- 
opticon views of great beauty are intersjiersed between the mounted scenes, 
thus furnishing a continuous performance. 




The origin of the cyclorama is traced to the use of scenery by the Italians 
two or three hundred years ago. They arranged outside of their windows scenes 
painted on canvas that simulated extensive gardens. Robert Fulton is said to 
hav^e exhibited a panorama in Paris at the beginning of the present century. It 
was not, however, a cylindrical painting, as is used in the cyclorama, and the 
effect was not as illusive.. Cycloramas have been on exhibition in many cities 
of the United States, and they are also very popular abroad. 

The cyclorama which we illustrate is the " Battle of Gettysburg," which has 
been shown in New York, Brooklyn, and other cities of the United States. It 
was painted by M. Paul Philippoteaux. 

The " Battle of Gettysburg " covers an immense sheet of canvas four hun- 
dred feet long and fifty feet high. The canvas was imported from Belgium, 
none being manufactured in the United States which would answer the pur- 
pose; it is nine yards wide, and the seams run up and down. The immense can- 
vas is supported from the sides of the building so as to form a C3dinder. The 
building is circular, and a cornice is provided which runs entirely around the 
building; the upper edge of the canvas is nailed to this cornice. The cloth is 
first rolled smoothly on an iron roller surfaced with wood, fifty feet long. The 
roller is held vertically in heavy framework which runs on tracks around the 
building. From the roller thus carried around, the cloth is gradually j-jaid out, 
as shown in our engraving. As fast as it comes off the roller it is seized and 
held by pincers while the edge is being tacked to the cornice. The lower edge 
is secured to a circle of gas pipes which run entirely around the building. As 
the pipe would not give sufficient weight to stretch the canvas, a twenty-five- 
pound weight is hung at every third foot. 

The effect of the stretching is that the canvas loses the true cylindrical 
shape; its sides are no longer parallel, but curve slightly inward, about one 
foot in amount, at the center. Thus, at the horizon line, the most distant part 
of the scene, the painting is about a foot nearer the vertical line than in the 
foreground. In absolute distance from the eye the difference is still greater. 
Owing to obliquity of the line of sight, the foregound, which seems so near at 
hand, is really much further off than the horizon. 

In a cyclorama of this kind it is necessary to have the scene portrayed with 
the utmost fidelity. The result is that the landscape is really an artistic tran- 




script of photographic views of the field. The artist first went to the scene 
of the great battle of Gettysburg, and selected one point of view, and caused a 
small stage to be erected at tliis point, which was of the same height as that 
upon which the people were to stand in the completed cA'clorama. Around 
the stage a line of pickets Avas driven in a circle, as shown at the point B. The 
distance Avas measured from the top of the stage as a center. From the top of 
the scaffold three series of ten photographs each were taken, the instrument 
being sighted by means of the posts. This series of photographs showed tlie 
entire field; one series being taken for the foreground, while the other two, by 
their focusing and exposure, were devoted to the middle distance and back- 
ground. Each view was divided into squares, as shown in our illustration; the 
canvas was marked off by corresponding divisions, and the pliotographs were 
copied square by squnre; the blending of the ten views and the aerial i)erspec- 
tive was, of course, the critical part of the perfornumce. The painting was 
(lone from a scaffold which traveled around on the same tracks which carried 
the roller frame, as shown in our illustration. 


XA11,1.N(^ ON TllK CANVAS. 

The painting was done in oil, tinsel being occasionally employed. After 
the circular wall was covered, the foreground next claimed the attention of the 
painter and his assistants. A wooden platform was huilt which extended all 
around the platform npon which the visitors stood, and earth and sod covered 
these boards. Fences, tufts of grass, wheat, etc., lent their aid to fill up the 
scene. The continuation of the road was met almost perfectly on the canvas; 
in fact, it was almost impossible to see the line of demarcation between the real 
and the painted foreground. We give an interesting engraving of this method 
of construcfcinc; a realistic scene. 




Two men are seen carryiug a litter. Tlie more distant soldier is painted ou 
the canvas; the litter is real, two of its handles passing through holes in the 
canvas. The figure resting on the litter and the nearer hearer are cut out of 
boards and ])ainted. Other scenes are similarly jiainted. 

The spectators occupy an elevated stage which they Jiiount ])V means of stair- 
cases running under the scatl'oldiug of the foreground. Once upon the plat- 

PAINTINC. A (;Y( r,()liA>rA. 

form the spectators lose all idea of orieutatiou, and cannot tell the points of the 
compass or have any conception of the size of the building. Over the stage a 
circular screen is suspended so that it shades it from the light which enters 
from the skylight. The sky is thus lighted up, and a peculiar luminous 
effect favoring the aerial perspective results. At night a number of electric 
lights, suspended out of sight of the s2:)ectators, give about the same effect. 
Many of the details of the picture were obtained from eye-witnesses of the 


battle; the uniforms, the modes of cari'ving the blankets, and the details of 
harness, and the minor parts of the scener}^ were studied carefully. Every- 
thins: in the baildins^ combines to make a wonderful illusion. 




Notwithstanding the fact that cycloramas of the pattern we have just 
described were the result of the most careful blending of science and art, still 
their popularity seems to have been limited, and the cyclorama has been, in 
numerous cases, obliged to bow to tlie taste of the day. One has been con- 
verted into a circus, others into skating rinks and bicycle academies. The 
cyclorama we arc about to describe ought to be able to bring panorama once 
more into fashion. The idea of Mr. Chase, a resident of Chicago, was to turn 
to account the most recent discoveries in the way of panorama photography, 
projection apparatus, electric lighting, and the systems which permit of faith- 
fully representing the phenomena of motion. The possibility of causing a 



considerable mimher of views to pass before the spectator in a limited amount 
of time, of imparting life to tiiem, gives the cyclorama an animation and 
diversity which is lacking in the ordinary panorama. 


An ordinary panorama building is used; spectators stand upon the floor of a 
cylindrical chamber one hundred feet in diameter aud thirty feet in height. 
Upon the walls are thrown photographs placed in a projecting apparatus sus- 
pended from the center of the scenery, after the manner of a chandelier. 

Our first engraving gives a general view of the panorama as used at the 
" Chicago Fire "cyclorama. Our second engraving shows the projection appara- 
tus, and our third where a battery of lanterns are used, showing the lantern 
carriages, Nothing more is required to convert an ordinary cyclorama into an 
electric cyclorama than to paint the back canvas white and to suspend the 
platform in the center of the building. 

The apparatus is secured in the center of the panorama or cyclorama build- 
ing by a steel tube and guys of steel wire. The operator stands in the center, 
upon a circular platform, and is surrounded by an annular table supporting 
eight carriages, upon which are mounted the lantqrns, cinematographs, kineto- 



TiiK ;'i;o.;kltion apparatus. 


scopes, and all arrangenieuts required for imparting life to the scene and pro- 
ducing the transformation. Each lantern i^ provided with an arc light, and 
the wires to furnish the current pass tlirough the suspension tube. The annu- 
lar table carries the rheostats by which the light is regulated, according to 
tlie effects to be produced with iris diaphragms, which permit of obtaining 
vanishing effects and night, sunrise, or sunset effects. The projecting lanterns, 
eight in number, are double, one being ranged over the other, tlnis permitting 
of the preparation of a view, and focusing it, while the spectators are looking 
at another. The change of pictures is not effected until everything is in order. 
The carriages which support the lanterns permit of accurately adjusting views 
so that the registry is perfect. The eight positive slides produce a panorama 
three hundred feet in circumference and over thirty feet high. The rays 
which emanate from each of the projecting lanterns are such that they w^ould 
overlap did not a frame fixed to the lenses, and carefully regulated, suppress 
those parts of the views which would encroach upon one another. When the 
lanterns are properly arranged it is possible to project moving pictures upon 
any part of the canvas screen. 



The love of show and the spectacular is inherent in human nature. Games 
and entertainments on a col-ossal scale have always appealed to the popular 
taste. An important factor in such spectacles is the display of fireworks, in 
the love for which the Americans can sympathize with the Orientals. As far 
back as 1879, Mr. James Pain of London gave spectacular productions at 
Manhattan Beach, one of New York's most popular resorts, and since that 
time tlieir popularity has been increased, so that now entertainments of this 
chiss are given in comparatively small cities. It is perhaps more proper to 
speak of these entertainments as fireworks with dramatic accessories than to 




call them dramas with fireworks, for the raison d'etre of the entire performance 
depends not upon the loosely hung together plot, but on the gigantic display 
of fireworks, which is accompanied by enough of realistic stage setting and dra- 
matic performance to give a good excuse for the performance. Strange as it may 
seem, these mammoth plays, as regards the scenery, are as interchangeable as 
those in any theater, the gror.nds in which the scenery is installed being of the 
same general dimensions in all cases. This, of course, greatly simplifies a 
change of perfoiunance. The company which has been prominently identified 
.with these spectacles sometimes has as many as seven in use at one time. They 


move about from place to place, so that in the course of a season thirty or forty 
cities are visited, the stay varying from a week to a whole season. The per- 
formance is held in the open air, at either some popular resort or in some place 
where the grounds are rea;lily accessible. 

An ami)hitheater is provided for tlie spectators in a rectangular enclosure 
which may seat as many as ten thousand persons. The seats slope away until 
the water is reached; here will be found an artificial lake, usually three hundred 
and eighteen feet long and one hundred and fifty feet wide, and the width of' 
the entire stage being three hundred and fifty feet. Behind the pond is a stage 
mounted with set scenes. Of course, owing to the distance and darkness, the 
refinements of acting would be entirely wasted. The management, therefore, 



depends almost entirely on the spectacular, the cast including companies of 
clever gymnasts and acrobats. 

The performance is so arranged as to lead np to some stirring catastrophe. 
The climax is generally awfnl cataclysm, or some blood-curdling war scene, or 
a conflagration. 

We select for the purpose of illustration one of the most successful of these 
spectacles, the " Burning of Moscow " at the time of the French invasion. The 
scene is a true representation of the docks and quays of the ancient Russian 
capital. At each side appear arched stone bridges, and the whole is surrounded 
by strong fortifications; sentinels walk back and forth upon the walls of the 
Kremlin. The action of the drama is but brief, and after a gymnastic exhi- 


bition of marching and countermarching by the actors, the band plays the 
solemn strains of the Russian national hymn, while priests of the Greek Church 
render classical music of a somber character, Avhich has a sti-iking effect. The 
army of ISTapoleon now approaches, shells begin to fly over the doomed city, 
and, as the beai'skins of the French grenadiers appear at the entrances at 
either side, the terrorized Russians rapidly disappear. 

The prisoners in the jails are liberated, and with torches prepare to light 
the fires. The conflagration now begins, and the pyrotechnic display becomes 
splendid. The roar of the flames is heard, and, amid explosions, the build- 
ings seem to be licked np by the fire, and collapse, leaving charred remains. 
The air is full of burning serjients, and the water is alive with incandescent 


figures. The grand finale is an aerial burst of rockets, as shown in our 

Having seen one of these spectacles the reader will ask how the i*emarkable 

effects are obtained. Our illustrations show the scenery as viewed from the 

rear of the stage. The scenery is hinged and braced, some parts turning on 

pivots, and all arranged so as to be quickly thrown down into such semblance 

of ruin as shall best carry out the idea the piece is iu- 

"^^ tended to represent. It is, however, only the work of 

a few hours to rehabilitate the entire scenery for use 

the next night. 

In the performance which we have described, some 
of the best effects of the art of pyrotechnics are shown 
in the brilliancy and sustaining power of the various 
lights and colors given out by the rockets, wheels, stars, 
Roman candles, gold and silver rain, etc. Of course, 
vast quantities of colored fire are also required to light the scene. 

■*V."o V-.^.K^^^ (j^'E.-\ 


Our last engraving shows how some of the firework effects are obtained. 
The grand aerial bouquet of rockets consists of a battery of rockets which are 
discharged simultaneously from the stand, as shown in the engraving. Our 
other engravings show water serpents, water dolphins, and the floating fire 
fountains. As they float around in the water, tliey i)roiluce fine effects. 





The present division of the work deals with interesting automata, curious 
toys, and miscellaneous tricks of an amusing nature. A very large number of 
devices and tricks of this kind have been published in the " Scientific Ameri- 
can " and the "Scientific American Supplement^" and the ones which we 
select are among those which have been considered as the best. The subject of 
curious toys and science in toys is very fully treated in the excellent work of 
Mr. George M. Hopkins, entitled "Experimental Science," which is published 
by the publishers of the present work. 


For a very long time tlie automaton chess player, or " Psycho," has been 
celebrated as the automaton, and quite a literature is centered about it. We 
present two forms of the "Psycho," one of which depends upon compressed 
air, and the other upon a small individual who is secreted in the cabinet. We 
will first describe the one which operates by compressed air. 

Let us explain to those who have not seen " Psycho " that it consists of a 
small figure, dressed as a Turk, sitting cross-legged (as shown by dotted lines) 
on a chest; this chest is in turn supported on a glass tube, about twelve inches 
diameter and three feet long, which rests on a four-legged stool. The bottom 
of chest and top of stool are covered with green cloth so as to make a toler- 
ably air-tight joint. The right arm is extended as in the drawing, and a semi- 
circular rack, in which are placed the thirteen cards dealt to " Psycho," is 
fixed by means of a bracket (not shown) in such a position that the edges 
come between the finger aud thumb. The arm turning horizontally on the 
])ivot, A, the hand can be brought over any jiart, aud by closing the finger and 
thumb and raising the arm, the card will be withdrawn from the pack aud 
held in the air. 


In Figs, la and lb (elevation and plan), the wheels E and M have each a 
train of clockwork (left out for the sake of clearness) which would cause them 
to spin round if unchecked. M, however, has two pins, p p', which catch on 
a projection on the lever, N. E' is a crown-wheel escapement — like that in a 
bottle roasting-jack — which turns A alternately to the left and right, thus caus- 
ing the hand to traverse the thirteen cards. A little higher on A will be seen 

F/a,i % 


a (luudrant, 15 (see i»lan), near the edge of which are set thirteen little pins. 
The end of the lever, IS', drops l)etween any two of them, thus causing the 
hand to stop at any desired card. 'The lever being pivoted at c, it is obvious 
that, by depressing the end, N, B will be set at liberty, and the hand will move 
along the cards; by slightly raising it this motion will be arrested; by raising 
it still more the i)in, p, is released, and M l)egins to revolve; and by again 


depreteing N this wheel will, iu its turu, be stopped. Near the bottom of the 
apparatus is a bellows, 0, which contains a spring tending to keep the lever, N, 
with which it is connected by a rod, X, in the jjosition shown. 1'his is con- 
nected with the tubular support, which may be connected by a tube through 
the leg of the stool, and another tube beneath the stage, with an assistant 
behind the scenes. By compressing or exhausting air throngh this tube it is 
obvious that the lever, X, will be raised or depressed, and the clockwork set 
going accordingly; « is a crankpin set in M, and connected with the head by 
catgut, T, and with the thumb by S. 

At E and R' are two pulleys connected by gut. Thus, if the hand moves 
round, the head appears to follow its motions, and when raised by pulling S, 
the head also rises, by means of T. Further explanation seems almost unnec- 
essary; Hs a stop to prevent the elbow moving too far, and b h, spiral springs 
to keep thumb open and head forward respectively. When N is raised, M 
pulls T and S, the latter closing thumb, and then raising arm by pulley, H. 
If the lever is allowed to drop, jy' will catch and keep arm up. On again rais- 
ing N, the arm will descend. 

Figs. 2a and 2b show another and simpler arrangement, in which only one 
train of clockwork is used. On the same axle as IT is fixed a lever and weight, 
Vi, to balance the arm. A vertical rod, X, having a projection, Z, slides up 
and down iu guides, Y Y, and carries the catgut, S and T. The quadrant, B', 
has cogs cut, between which Z slides, and stops the motion of A, which is moved, 
;is before, by clockwork. The lower j)art of X is connected direct with 0. 
AVhen X is slightly raised, as shown, A is free to move; but on exhausting air and 
drawing X down, Z enters the cogs and stops the hand over a card; continuing 
to exhaust, the thumb closes and the card is lifted up. The details of the clock- 
work we leave to the ingenuity of the reader. There should be a fan on each 
train to regulate the speed. The figure should be so placed that the assistant 
can see the cards in the semicircular rack. 


The newspapers announced some time ago that the police of Bordeaux had 
forbidden the exhibition of the antonuiton Az Rah, one of the attractions of 
the Exhibition Theater, because it had been discovered that the manikin was 
set in motion, not by mechanical arrangements, but by a youth of eighteen 
years, inclosed within a cavity behind the wheel work, and Avhose health was 
gravely compromised by this daily torture. 

This automaton recalls the famous Turkish chess j)layer that was constructed 
iu Hungary by Baron Kempelen in 1769, and exhibited i)i Germany, Russia, 
France, England, and America, \vithout the public succeed ing iu ascertaining its 
mechanism. In 1819 and 1830 a man named ^lelzer elbowed it anew in England. 
Robert-Houdin saw it in 1844 at the house of a mechaniciati of Belleville, named 


Crouior. Since then its fate has been unknown, and it is very probable the Az 
Eah of Bordeaux is nothing else than the Turk of Vienna. Our readers who 
have seen it at the Exhibition will be enabled to decide the question after read- 
ing the description that we shall give. Baron Kempelen, a Hungarian noble- 
man and an Aulic Councilor of the Eoyal Chamber of the Domains of Hun- 
gary, being at Vienna, was called to the court to be present at a seance of 
magnetism that a Frenchman named Pelletier was to hold before the empress. 
Kempelen was known as an ingenious amateur of mechanics, and the persons 
present having asked his opinion in regard to the e.\periments which he had 
witnessed, he said that he believed he could make a machine that would be 
'much more astonishing than anything that he had just seen. The empress 
took him at his word and expressed a desire that he should begin the Avork. 
M. De Kempelen returned to Presbourg, in his own country, and in six months 
produced an automaton which played a game of chess against any one who 
offered himself, and nearly always won it. 

This automaton was a human figure of natural size, which was dressed in 
the Turkish style, seated on a chair, and placed behind a wooden chest on 
which was laid the chessboard. He took the pieces up with his hand in order 
to play them, turned his head to the right and left in order to see them better, 
and nodded his head three times when he checkmated the king, and twice on 
attacking the queen. If his adversary made a mistake, he shook his head, 
removed the wrongly-played piece, deposited it outside of the chessboard, and 
played his own. The showman, who stood near the automaton, wound ujd the 
mechanism after every ten or twelve moves, and occasionally replaced certain 
wheels; and at every motion of the Turk were heard noises of moving wheel- 
work. To show that there was nothing within but mechanism, doors were 
opened in the chest and body. There was also a magnet lying on the table to 
make believe that magnetism, then in great vogue, and as yet full of mystery, 
played a preponderating role in the affair. M. De Kempelen was accustomed 
to say: "The machine is very simple, and the mechanism appears wonderful 
only because all has been combined with great patience in order to produce the 

Many hypotheses were put forth on the subject, and two books, one published 
in 1785, and the other in 1789, were devoted to a discussion of them. Tbose 
that appeared to be most likely were, on the one hand, that the Turk's body 
contained an extraordinarily snuxll dwarf; and, on the other, that the showman 
acted upon the automaton from a distance by the aid of magnetic influences. 
These two explanations gave a very imjierfect account of the facts, and it was 
not until some years ago that the trick was unveiled in an anonymous book. 

The following is an exact description of the apparatus and the successive 
operations performed by the exhibitor: 

The chest was three and one-half feet long, two feet wide, and two and one- 
half feet high, and was provided with doors and drawers whose use will pres- 
ently be seen. Tlie front part of the chair seat was affixed to the chest, and 
the back part rested on the floor by two legs which, as well as the four legs of 


the chest, were provided with casters. The right hand of the manikin was 
movable on the upper part of the chest that formed a table, and, at the begin- 
ning of operations, held a pipe, which was afterward removed, and it rested 
upon a cushion lying in a certain definite position. The chessboard in front of 
the player was eighteen inches square. The exhibitor, provided with a light, 
begins by allowing the interior of the ajiparatus to be examined by the specta- 
tors. He opens the door A (Fig. 1), and allows to be seen a series of gearings 
that occupy the whole width of the chest. Tlien he passes behind and opens 
the door B (Figs. 2 and 8), opposite the door A, and introduces a light into 
the interior to show that it is empty. The spectators standing on the other side 
can, in fact, see the light shine through the different pieces of mechanism 
through the dooi". A, that remains open. He afterward locks the door B, and 
comes in front of the chest and oj)ens the drawer G, from which he removes 
the chessmen, and a cushion which he slides under the left arm of the auto- 
maton. This drawer seems to serve no other purpose than the preservation of 
these objects. He then opens the two doors, C C, in front of the chest, 
and shows a large closet lined at the sides with dark drapery, and containing 
two boxes, L and M, of unequal size, and a few belts and pulleys that seem to 
be designed for putting in motion the mechanism contained in the boxes. 
Passing behind again, he opens tlie door D, and introduces a light into the 
interior of the chest to show that it has not a false bottom. Then he closes this 
door again, and also the doors A and C, by means of the same key. Next he 
turns the apparatus around so as to show the public the other side (shown in 
Fig. 2), and raises the clothing of the Turk, and opens the apertures, E and 
F, in the back and thigh, to show that no one is hidden within. These doors 
remain constantly open afterward. Finally the showman turns the Turk back 
to his former position, facing the spectator, removes the cushion and jiipe, and 
then the game may begin. 

We shall explain as clearly as possible how the game was directed by a man 
who succeeded in hiding himself by a series of movements when the different 
doors of the apparatus were successively opened : 

The drawer C (J, when closed, does not reach the back side of tlie chest, 
but leaves between it and its back an empty space, 0, measuring fourteen inches 
in breadth, eight in hoiglit, and two feet eleven inches in length (Figs. 9, 10, 
and 11). This space is never shown to the spectator. The little closet extend- 
ing from A to B is separated into two parts by a dark hanging, S (Fig. 8), 
which is raised when tiie door, B, is opened, and lowered when it is shut. Tlie 
front part of the closet is entirely filled with the wheels that are thought to 
move the aiitonuiton. IMie back part is empty and is sej)arated from the large 
closet that the doors C form, by a thick cui-tain. 11. which hangs freely, being 
only fixed at its upper ])art. A part, Q, of the bottom partition of the large 
closet C C — the i)att in front of the 'J'urk — is movable around a liorizontal 
axis, and is provided with a weight toward the interior of the closet sufficient 
to cause it to fall always in a vertical position. The box L is movable, and 
serves to Jiide an aperture in tlic llo(.r of the closet; and the box M is station- 


ar3% but has no bottom, and covers likewise a corresponding liole in the lower 
tloor over the space O. The interior of the Turk is arranged as indicated in 
Figs. 8, 10, and 11. The end of the chest to the riglit of the Turk slides 
in horizontal grooves (})roperly hidden) in sucli a way as to give access to 
the space K. It will now be seen that if a man of small stature introduces 
himself into the chest on this side, he Avill be able to thrust his legs into the 
empty space hidden beliind the drawer, and to place the rest of his body in the 
space K, as may be seen in Fig. 5, and by pushing the curtain before him and 
removing the movable box, L, he will be able to assume the position shown in 
Figs. 3 and 4. It is in such position that he awaits the beginning of the exhi- 
bition. The box M serves for receiving his feet. 

It will be remembered that the first operation of the exhibitor consists in 
opening the door A, at which time the public sees only the mechanism, and, 
behind it, the dark curtain, S, whose distance cannot be estimated. The exhib- 
itor next passes behind the chest, and, 02)euing the door B, introduces a light 
behind the mechanism, which is believed to occupy the whole width of it. The 
curtain, S, being raised, it is seen by the light that shines through the different 
pieces that they cannot serve to hide any one. He then closes and locks the 
door B, and, returning to the front, opens the drawer and performs the oper- 
ations already described, in order to give his confederate time to take the posi- 
tion shown in Fig. 5. The box L having been put back in place, as well as 
the curtain R, the pnblic sees only an empty space when the doors are 
opened. The curtain S, which has fallen, hides the back of the confederate, 
although the door A remains open; and it is then tliat on introducing the 
light through the door 1), the exhibitor shows that the large closet has not 
a double bottom. The doors C being again closed with the same key, so 
as to make believe that these different closings are due to the necessity of 
removing this key at every o})eration, the chest is turned around, the two doors, 
E and F, are opened before the public to show that the body of the Turk is 
empty, and finallv the machine is wound up slowly, the wheelwork making 
considerable noise the while. During this time the confederate raises the mov- 
able partition Q, takes his legs from behind the drawer, introduces the upper 
part of his body into a portion of the manikin, which is so arranged as to give 
his loins a convenient snjiport, and seats himself on the box L, as shown in 
Figs. 6 and 7. The game may then begin, the hidden player following his 
moves through the sufficiently transparent fabric that forms the Turk's cloth- 
ing. In order that the confederate may easily introduce his arm into that of 
the manikin, it is necessary to give the latter a certain position, this being the 
reason for the addition of a jDipe in the hand and a cushion under the elbow, 
both of wdiich are removed when the game begins. A simple cord permits of 
moving one of the manikin's fingers so as to pick up or drop the chessmen. 
The left arm of the confederate, which remains in the machine, is employe'^ :'a 
moving the head and in producing the noise of wheelwork at every motion. 

In reality, in M. De Kempelen's automaton, it was the left arm that moved 
the pieces. It is said that this peculiarity was due to the fact that the chess 


player who operated tlic automaton was left-hand ed. There has even been a 
touching romance related on this subject, to the effect that the hidden chess 
player was a Polish officer who, having been compromised in the revolt against 
Catharine the Great, and having lost his legs in fighting, was received by 
Kempelen, who thus hid him so well from the searches of the Russian police 
that he could go to conquer his sovereign in the game in the midst of her 


The automaton which we illustrate has a peculiarity of being actuated by 
a simple flow of sand. It is curious that it was made in the first half of the 
eighteenth century. The image, clad in Oriental costume of bright colors, is 
seated behind a little table which is located in front of what appears to be a 
brick and stone structure; it is made of pasteboard. All of the details are exe- 
cuted with great care. When the automaton is in motion it acts as a juggler. 
The arms rise alternately or in unison, and lift the cups, and at every motion 
expose upon the table first to the right a white ball, then to the left a red ball, 
which passes to the right and disapi)ears. Then two white balls make their 
appearance on a new motion of the cups, and these are changed into red ones 




at the next motion. The house forms a receptacle for fine sand which falls 
ii|)on the wheel, (J, through the hopjier, F. The sand flows in a continuous 
stream, and causes the wheel, G, to revolve with great rapidity. To this Avheel 
are fixed six tappets which engage with the toothed wdieel, J, and thus dimin- 
ish the rapidity. The wheel itself communicates through the medium of 
teeth with the cylinder, H, which is thus given a slow motion, which causes 
the automaton to act as follows: Opposite the cylinder there are two series of 
levers of four each, the extremities of which we suppose to be marked A, B, C, 
D, and A', B', C, D'. The two levers, D and D', lift the arms, L L, and the 


extremity of each of the six others is placed under a small strip of cardboard. 
Each of these strips is hinged by one of its exti-emities to the table; the other 
end, on rising, places itself just beneath the small aperture in the table, E. If 
now we examine the cylinder, B, we shall see that it is provided with a series of 
cams. A, B, C, and A', B', C, and opposite these, other and smaller ones, D and 
D'. Each cam, when the cylinder revolves, strikes in turn one of the levers. 
The larger cams lift the levers and consequently the hinged cards, with the balls 
of different colors, and keep them lifted for some time, and during this period 
the smaller cams act upon the levers of the arms that hold the cups. In this 
way the balls are in place when the arms rise, and do not disappear, in order 
to be replaced by others, until the arms have descended. The cams, A and A', 
cause the red balls to act, and the white balls are raised by the cams, C and C. 
As for the cams, B and B', they act upon strips of cardboard that merely sup- 
port obturators for the apertures in the table. 



The mechanical toy shown in the accompanying illustration is one of the 
most original and ingenions things of its kind that have recently appeared. 
Within the base upon which the " artist " and his easel are placed, and imme- 
diately below the figure, is a small pinion which is operated by a worm at the 
end of the crankshaft which is seen projecting through the side of the base. 
The pinion, which rotates in a horizontal plane, is provided with a couple of 
pins upon which is placed one of the sets of removable cams which accompany 
the toy. The cams are double, being provided with two separate peripheral 
edges, and each edge is engaged by the short arm of a pair of levers, as shown 
in the engraving. The upper lever attaches at the end of its long arm to a 
vertical shaft which passes up through the body of the figure, and is pivotally 
attached to its right arm at the shoulder. By this means the rotation of the 
cam causes a vertical up and down movement of the arm and the drawing 
pencil which it carries. The lower cam operates a system of levers by which 
the arm is given a series of right and left movements. It is evident that by 
giving the proper relative contours to the two edges of the cam, the arm, with 
the pencil which it carries, may be made to trace any desired line upon the 

tup: toy aktist. 

AUTOMATA. 37'}' 

paper, either vertical or horizontal, by the action of the first or second cam; or 
diagonal or curved, by the joint operation of the two. Each of tiie double 
cams which are provided with the toy is cut so that its operation will cause the 
figure to draw some Avell-known object. The levers are kept in snug contact 
with the cams by a pair of spiral springs. 

The easel is hinged to the base and is pressed against the jiencil by means of 
a coil spring. It is provided with four projecting pins upon which the sheet 
of paper is held while tlie sketch artist is at Avork. The model from which our 
engraving was made produced an easily recognized likeness of the Emperor 
William of Germany (the device is "made in Germany"), and a drawing 
which bore a strong resemblance to the familiar barnyard fowl. 


A good many years ago what was supposed to be a steam man was exhibited all 
over the country, but finally the " steam man " presumably died, as his remains 
were seen quite recently in one of the downtown New York junk stores. The 
steam man which we illustrate was invented by Prof. George Moore, who 
exhibited him very widely in the Ignited States. 

In our illustration we show the section and general view of the steam man. 
In the body is the boiler, containing a very large heating surface which is 
supplied with a gasoline fire. Below the boiler is situated the engine. While 
this steam engine is not at all large, it runs at a very high speed and is of high 
power, the combination of boiler and engine giving about one-half horse- 
power. From the engine the exhaust pipe leads to the nose of the figure, 
whence the steam escapes when the machine is in motion. Through the head 
the smoke flue is carried, and the products of combustion escape from the 
top of the helmet. The steam gauge is placed by the side of the neck. The 
skirts of the armor open like doors, so as to give free access to the engine. 
The main body of the figure is made of heavy tin. By reducing gear the 
engine is made to drive the walking mechanism of the figure at reasonable 

In our sectional view w^e show the combination of levers by which the fig- 
ure is made to walk. The engine imparts a swinging to the whole length of 
the leg from the liip; a second swinging motion, from the knee downward, is 
accomplished by a similar system of levers and connections; and, finally, a true 
ankle motion is given to the foot by the rod running down through the lower 
leg. The heels of the figure are armed with calks, or spurs, which catch on 
the surface on which it is walking and give it its power. As exhibited, the 
steam man is connected to the end of a horizontal bar about waist high, which -.- 
is fastened to a vertical standard in the center of the track. Thus supported, 
the man walks round in a circle at quite a rapid rate of progress. 



For the last eight years the inveutor lias been at work ou a larger steam 
mail which he hopes to have iu operation sometime. The new one is designed 
for use on the open streets, and is to draw a wagon containing u baud. In 
the upper figure we indicate the method of attachment to the wagon which 
has been adopted. By the long spring at the side of the figure an elastic 
connection is secured, so that t!ie figure sliall always have its weight supported 
by the ground. The present man, which is about six feet high, when in 
full operation, cannot, it is said, be held back by two men pulling against 
it. The larger man, bnilt for heavier work, is expected to pull as many as 
ten musicians in his wagon. Our cuts show the general appearance of the 
figure, which is attired in armor like a knight of old, and which appears to 
be thoroughly operative. The action is quite natural, and the hip, knee, and 
ankle motion of the human leg have been very faithfully imitated. The figure 
moves at a brisk walk and can cover about four or five miles an hour. 



The gimple toy illustrated in the engrnviii^ lias iirinted on the underside 
the rather high-sounding title, " X-Kay Machine. Wonder of the age! " But 
it is neither an X-ray machine nor a wondei'. It is simply a reduced copy of 
an ancient trick. The two cylinders mounted on the base, with a space between 
them, are perforated axially and are supposed to represent coils. When the eye 
is applied to the end of oue of these cylinders, objects may be clearly seen 
through them; and when a coin is slipped between the ends of the cylinders, 
as shown in the cut, it offers no obstruction to the light. Objects can appar- 


XliAY .\1A( IUM; Willi AO X JiAY. 



ently be seen through the coin. Fig. 2 affords an explanation. The hole in 
each cylinder is intercepted bv a mirror- arranged at an angle of forty-five 
degrees with the axis of the cylinder, and in the base are two mirrors arranged 
parallel with the first two, as shown. A hole extends downward from the cen- 
tral hole of each cylinder, so that light entering at one end of the machine is 
reflected downward at right angles by the firtit mirror, thence forward by the 
second mirror to the third, which throws it up to the fourth mirror, by which 
it is reflected to the eye. It will thus be seen that the light never passes 
entirely through the cjdinders, and the observer does not see through, but 
around, the coin. 

The old device which jjreceded this was on a much larger scale, and Avas 
generally used in connection with a brick, which, of course, had the same 
transparency as the coin. 


A few years ago a familiar sight on Broadway was the toy vender who 
sells the little machine called the "Money Maker," the machine consist- 
ing of a pair of rollers in one side of which are inserted plain sheets of paper 
of the size of a bank note, and as the rollers revoWe, a bright new bill rolls out 
from the opposite side; then another blank sheet is inserted, and another bill 
rolls out, and so on. To the uninitiated this operation is a mystery, and to the 

1- K;. 1. Till:: Mil.NKV M AM.K, 


unprincipled it is apparently the device long looked for. This machine is 
certainly as good as any device calculated to make something out of nothing, 
but in this, as in other things, what you get you must pay for. jjj 


The explanation of the device is made simple by the enlarged cross section. 
To the two rollers journaled in the standards are attached the ends of a strip 
of black cloth which is wound around botii rollers in opposite directions, so as 
to about evenly divide tlie clotli* between tlie rollers. The gudgeons of the 
rollers are squared to receive an ordinary clock key, by means of which either 
may be turned. To i)ropare the nuichine for operation, the cloth is wound 
upon one of the rollers while it is partly unwound from the other; then the 



key is transferred to the gudgeon of the jiartly filled roller, and as it is turned, 
crisp new bank bills are fed into the machine and are wrapped with the black 
cloth upon the roller between the convolutions of the cloth; one bill after 
another is thus inserted until three, four, or more bills are hidden in the roll, 
and the rollers present about the same appearance as to size. This prepai'a- 
tiou, of course, takes place aside, and is not seen by the persons to whom the 
trick is to be shown. The key is shifted from the roller containing the bills 
(the upper one in the present case) to the lower one. Xow, as the lower roller 
is turned so as to unwind the cloth from the upper roll, a piece of plain paper 
of the width and length of a bank note is inserted at the moment the first bill 
is about to emerge from the layers of cloth on the upper roll. The paper 
begins to be rolled upon the lower roll under the outer layer of cloth, so that 
while the paper appears to be simply rolled through between the rollers, coming 
out upon the opposite side a complete bill, it is in reality only hidden by the 
cloth on the lower roller. After the first bill is discharged from the rollers 
another piece of paper must be supplied in such a manner that it will begin to 
enter the machine as the next bill emerges, and so on. 


The elasticity of torsion and tension, the storage of energy, centrifugal 
force, momentum, and friction are all concerned in the movement of the sim- 
ple toy illustrated in Fig. 1; and yet, perhaps, not one in a thousand of the 
people who see the toy realizes the composite nature of its action. Barring 
the well-known return ball, nothing can be simpler than this toy, which con- 
sists of two wooden balls of the same diameter connected by a slender rub- 
ber band attached by staples, as shoAvn in the lower figure. 



tlG. L— GYKATI.NG ]5ALLs>. 


To prepare the toy for operation, it is only necessary to twist the rubber 
band by holding one of the balls in the hand and rolling the other round in a 
circular path upon the floor by giving to the hand a gyratory motion. As soon 
as the band is twisted, the free ball is grasped in the hand, then both are 
released at once. 

The untwisting of the rubber band causes the balls to roll in opposite direc- 
tions in a circular path, and centrifugal force causes the balls to fly outward. 
Bv virtue of the acquired momentum, the balls continue to rotate after the 
rubber band is untwisted, so that the band is again twisted, but in the opposite 
direction. As soon as the resistance of the band overcomes the momentum of 
the balls, the rotation ceases for an instant, when the band again untwisting 

FIG. 2.— UNB.\r,ANCKD BAI.I-. 

revolves the balls in the opposite direction, and the operation is repeated until 
the stored energy is exhausted. 

In Fig. 2 is illustrated another ball in which the center of gravity is 
located near the periphery. The ball, which is hollow, is made of paper. To 
the inner surface of the ball is attached a weight which is secured in place by 
a piece of cloth glued over it. When this ball is thrown through the air with 
a whirling motion, it describes a curve like that indicated by dotted lines in 
the upper part of the engraving, so that it is difficult, if not imjwssible, to 
catch it. When the ball is rolled on a plane surface, it does not take a straight 
forward course, as would be expected from a well-balanced ball, but its course 
is very erratic, as indicated by dotted lines in the lower part of the flgure. 


An artificial rose, wliich is of i»aper, is traversed ])y a metallic tube that 
forms its stalk. One end of this tube extends slightl}' beyond the petals of the 
flower, and the other is ])r()longed in such a way that it can be held in the 
mouth, the flower being at a distance of about ten inches from the eyes. 

If the tube be l)lown into regularly, and a small eUl<M--]iith l)all, to which 
two artificiiil Initterflics are aflixei! by slender wires, be placed over 1he floAver, 




the ball, wheu well centered in the current of air, will remain suspended therein 
at an inch or so from the flower. As the current of air is invisible, the effect 
produced is very surprising, and the butterflies, incessantly in motion, appear 
to be engaged in rifling the flower of sweets, after the manner of living ones. 
It sometimes happens that the ball revolves in the current and carries along 
the butterflies, M'hich thus describe a circle around an axis. It is unnecessary 
to say that the blowing must be done with great regularity. 


The vulcanite electrophorus shown in our lii'st engraving consists of a jilate 
of vulcanite about one-third of an inch in thickness; one or more small pieces 
of tin foil about the size of a inlaying card are pasted on one side of the plate. 
The electrophorus is then placed on a table, and the surfaces are successively 
rubbed with the palm of the hand. If the plate is raised from the table and 
the tin foil is approached by the other hand, a spark is produced. A number 
of flgures of elder pith complete the toy and show the phenomena of electrical 
attraction and repulsion in the most comical numncr. Tlie plate being excited, 
the small elder-})ith figures are jilaced on the tin foil, and the plate is lifted 
from the table. The figures raise their arms, and the hair of the one in the 
center stands out like the bristles of a porcui)ine. 

Our second engraving shows some electrical bottle imps. A glass vessel is 
mounted on a hollow base containing an electro-magnet providt'd with liattcry 


I' Hi. ■^. lilAiVTHW BOTTl.E IMl'S. 



connections. One or two small figures surmounted by a hollow glass bulb 
have a small piece of wire attached to the feet and are placed in the vessel. 
The air in the hollow glass bulb will draw them up to the surface of the 
water, as shown in the engraving, but as soon as the current is turned on, 
the figures will be drawn irresistibly to the bottom of the vessel; as soon as 
tlie current is interrujited the figures will rise rapidly. 

Tlie magic fishes shown in our third engraving dejiend upon a similar trick. 
The electro-magnet is replaced by a small electro-motor which rotates from 
right to left, or from left to right, and causes a corresponding movement in 
the fishes, as the shaft carries a magnet which, of course, attracts the fishes and 
causes them to make a circular course around the small fish tank. 




"Whatever may be the opinion that is hekl as to horse races and their moral 
influence, it is none the less certain that they offer an irresistible attraction 
to a large number of jiersons, and that this growing passion prevails equally 
in all degrees of the social scale. Bold innovators have seen a vein to be 
exploited in the racing mania, and the game of the miniature horse race, an 
always i:)opular pastime at bathing resorts, is only one of the more happy forms 
given to true races with a view of prolonging the excitement of betting, of the 
unexpected, and of chance, at times when genuine racing could be done only 
with difficulty and would attract too small a number of persons. The electric 
race course that we are now going to present to our readers occupies a place 
just between genuine races and the miniature horse race. It is, in fact, a 
happy alliance of genuine races, the game just mentioned, hobby horses, and 
electricity. Taken as a whole, it consists of a certain number of hobby horses. 

MCi. 1. KI.KCrUK H.\< !•; tOlKSK AT M(. K, 



half natural size, each moving over a circular track, under the influence of an 
individual motor, and receiving the current of a single generator, but in an 
independent manner; thus securing a perfect autonomy to each courser, quali- 
fied, moreover, by the surveillance of the electrician who acts as a sort of des- 
potic monarch over them. The horses are ridden by children and even by 
grown persons, and it is in this that they resemble hobby horses, although the 
possibility of imparting different speeds to them permits of their being j^assed 
by competitors and of passing the latter in turn, thus increasing the excitement 
of the riders. Bets may be made, of which the chances are just as certain as 
those of the play of odd and even upon the numbers of the hacks traversing 
the boulevards of Paris. 


M. Salle's race course constitutes an interesting application of the carriage 
and of the distribution of motive pow'er by continuous currents. The instal- 
lation erected in Nice (shown in Fig. 1) comprises a twelve-horse-power gas 
engine that actuates a Eechniewsky dynamo with double winding, which sends 
tlie current into six electric motors. 

About the motor and dynamo there is nothing peculiar. An electric motor 
is arranged behind each horse (Fig. 2). When tlie circuit of the dynamo is 
closed, all the horses start at once and take on relative speeds that are so much 
the greater in proportion as the circle upon which they are placed has a greater 
radius. The speed of each horse, moreover, can be regulated at will by means 
of a rheostat interposed in its particular circuit. An interrupter permits 
of stopping any horse whatever without stopping the movement of all the 


others. All the motions are controlled from the post of the electrician, who^ 
standing upon a lateral stage, overlooks the entire track, and can watch and 
regulate what takes place upon it, for npou a horizontally arranged board he 
has all the maneuvering ])ieces necessary for the play. These jjieces are, in 
the first place, a main commutator that cuts the circuit from all the horses at 
once ; then six individual commutators for each of the horses, six rheostats 
interposed in the respective circuits of the six motors and permitting of regu- 
lating the angular speeds of each horse, and finally an exciting rheostat of the 
dynamo machine that permits of varying the speeds of all the motors at once, 
in the same ratio. 

It is therefore possible, by maneuvering these different pieces, to regulate 
the general or particular gait of each horse, and to stop any one of the horses 
almost instantly if an obstacle falls upon the track, or if one of the riders 
becomes suddenly indisposed. 

The driving of the motive wheel by the motor is done by direct contact. 
To this effect the large wheel is provided with a rubber tire, against which the 
pulley of the motor bears. The friction thus obtained is sufficient to carry 
along the vehicle, which, with the rider, weighs a little less than six hundred 
and fifty pounds. The mean speed is thirteen feet per second, but the horses 
placed at the circumference can obtain a speed of sixteen or eighteen feet, a 
velocity that it is not |)rudent to exceed, or even reach, on account of the diffi- 
culty the rider would have in holding himself in equilibrium, and the feeling 
of dizziness that he might experience. 

The vehicle upon which each horse is mounted merits special mention, 
because of the arrangements made to prevent upsetting. Each of the four 
wheels has a different diameter. Their two axles converge toward the center 
of the circular track upon which each horse moves, and the axis inclines 
toward the center. 

Each pair of wheels, therefore, constitutes a true rolling cone, Avhose apex 
passes through the central point of the track situated upon the horizontal roll- 
ing 2)lane. The inequality of the wheels naturally makes it necessary to 
employ but a single driving wheel, and to mount the four wheels loose upon 
the axles. Owing to these arrangements no tendency to derailment has shown 
itself, even with speeds of from sixteen to twenty-two feet per second upon 
curves of thirteen feet radius. 

Two small rollers placed upon the track tend to prevent an upsetting under 
the action of a lateral thrust or a strong impulsion. The track consists of a 
single tram rail, with which engage the two external wheels. This rail serves as 
a guide and suffices to prevent derailment. The current is led to each motor 
by two rollers moving over two circular metallic bands in direct communication 
with the poles of the dynamo, through the intermedium of the maneuvering 
board, thus permitting of varying the speed of each of the horses, and even of 
stopping the latter by interru})ting the circuit. 




The toy shown in tlie ,sn])joiued figure, taken from '"' La JSfatnre,'''' althougli 
far from new, is, nevertlieless, ingenious, and cleverly modernized b}' the con- 
structor. This is the way to make the oracle speak; we will afterward give the 
secret of its accurate answers. We write upon twelve prejmred cards a series of 
questions relating to history, geography, science, customs, etc. One of the 
company takes one of these cards at random and reads one of the questions; 


then the card is placed nnder the magician's feet, in a groove made to receive 
it. Immediately the oracle turns on its axis, and after some oscillations becomes 
fixed in a certain position, its magic wand pointing to one of the numbers by 
which it is surrounded. On referring to the corresponding number on a list, 
we read an admirably exact and accurate answer. 

We may see that by varying at Avill the cards of questions and answers we 
may obtain from the oracle an indefinite nnmber of replies. Nothing could 
be simpler than the process by which this result is obtained. The base of the 
toy, into which the cards slip, bears a vertical pivot on Avhich rests the body of 
the magician, whose robe conceals a vertical U-shaped magnet, having its two 
poles near the base, as shown in Fig. 2. 












FIO. 2.— ])ETAILS OK Till-; .\IA(;NK TIC ()HA( I.K. 

Ill each of the cards there is another magnet concealed, a straight rod, 
occupying a different position for each of the twelve cards. We see that, in 
virtue of the well-known laws of the attraction of magnets for each other, 
eacli time that a card is placed with its magnet in the base, the figure will turn 
round this axis and effect a series of oscillations round its own axis until the 
poles of the U-shaped magnet holder under its robe are opposite the contrary 
poles of the straight rod hidden in the card. If the base has been correctly 
marked previously, the divining rod will indicate the corresponding number 
of the answer. Any boy with a little genius and a few tools can make an 
oracle similar to our engravins:. 


We present an illustration of one of tlie toys of the year. It consists of 
a nickel-plated box some three inches in diameter. In the center of the top 
projects the end of a spindle, and at one side is a lever. To operate the toy 
this side projecting piece is pulled out, and one of the triangular pieces of 
tin, to which paper figures are attaclied, is placed in contact with the spindle in 
the top of the box. The dancers then })egin a lively wait?: on the top of the 
box. The secret of operation is not at first apparent, though it is evident that 
magnetism has something to do with it. On opening the box the mystery is 
solved. The spindle is of magnetized steel and extends through the top of 
the box, forming a slight pnjjection. It turns freely and carries a pinion and 
a metal disk. The pinion is actuated by the projecting side piece through the 
medium of a toothed sector. Motion is transmitted to the triangular piece of 
tin carrying the dancers by the magnetized spindle, causing a horizontal move- 

ruh'Tors TOYS. 



ment, and giving it a movement around its own axis. Curved wires and a 
spiral, one side of which is colored, are also provided, and they all move around 
the pin at a lively rate, producing novel effects. 


The very curious engraving which wo reproduce herewith (Fig. 1) shows 
once again that, as regards manners and the details of life, there is nothing 
new under the sun. Every one has seen in the show windows of toy-dealer« 
a plaything called the "wrestlers," and which consists of two little weighted 
and jointed figures tlmt are set in motion by a taut string. At every tension 
of the latter these two little figures move about, go through the motions 
of wrestling, and sometimes fall on top of one another, much to the amuse- 
ment of the spectator. Xow, it is seven hundred years ago that Herrade de 
Lansberg, abbess of Hohenbourg, in a sort of encyclopaedic compilation 
entitled "Hortus Deliciarum,'' drew the little combatants that are reproduced 



in Fig. 1. 'J'his valuable MS., Avhicli was destroyed by Prussian shells in 1870, 
has been happily saved from absolute annihilation by the copies of M. i)e 
Bastard, that are at present preserved in the Cabinet of Prints of the National 
Museum. This book is a sort of abstract, in figures, of Alsatian life in the 
twelfth century, and games have not been forgotten therein. llerrade de 
Lansberg's little combatants are clad after the manner of the warriors of those 
times, just as in our toy — the wrestlers — the figures preserve the traditional 


costume of wrestlers at fairs. The two little warriors wear a helmet Avith 
nasal; and a coat of mail, a buckler, and a sword complete their equipment. 
Their feet, which were probably weighted with lead, kept the puppets in a 
vertical position, and upon maneuvering the strings an imitation of a sword 
contest was obtained. 

It is probal)le that this toy was not a recent invention in the time of TTer- 
rade, and that the abbess of Hohenbonrg only put into her drawings a costume 
that was already ancient. 



Oil any pleasant day may be found on lower Broadway and other down-town 
thoroughfares venders who sell almost anything in the way of novelties. Among 
these may be seen culinary implements, toilet articles, chea|) microscopes, 
magnifying glasses, and various toys. Nothing takes better in the way of 
articles for this kind of trade than some new toy. Whether a toy will probably 
have a good run can be determined by these venders in a very short time. If 
it takes well, crowds gather around him, and he does a thriving business, 
making money for himself as well as for the inventor. If, however, the article 
is not wanted, the vender very soon finds it out, and looks for other wares. 


Some of the toys are scientific, others are not. We give two examples of 
scientific toys which have sold very well. They are similar in character, and 
illustrate what shifting the center of gravity can do. They are both acrobats. 
The one shown in Fig. 1, and designated " McGinty," aud sometimes " Little 
Tommy," consists of a paper figure attached to a tube closed at both ends and 
inserted in })aper disks which are bent down on the tube, forming semicircular 
end pieces on which the device may roll. A drop of mercury placed in the 
tube completes the toy. AYhen placed on a slightly inclined plane, with the 
tube parallel with the surface, the mercury rolls to the lower end of the tube, 
causing that end to preponderate. The lighter end, actuated by gravity, then 
moves forward until it strikes the inclined surface, when the mercury again 
rolls to the lower end and causes another half revolution, and, so on. This 
toy moves down the incline with a slow aud stately movement. 





The toy shown in Fig. 2 is made upon the principle just described, but the 
round ends of the figure furnish the rolling surfaces, and a bullet is used for 
the weight instead of a globule of mercury, the body being simply a straight 
paper tube with convex ends. 


The accompanying engravings represent an object sold in the London 
bazars. It is made of tin, is painted red, and is called " Christopher Colum- 
bus's Egg," because those who do not 
know how it is constructed canuot make 
it stand up on the projecting part situ- 
ated at the base. This egg, which it is 
impossible to open, is hollow, and con- 
tains a leaden ball which causes it to fall 
over on its side, unless it (the ball) is in 
the longer axis. 

The sections in Figs. 2 and 3 ex- 
l^lain the construction, and show how 
the ball is brought into the desired posi- 
tion to cause equilibrium. 

Corresponding to the j^oint where 
the halves of the e:gg are soldered to- 
gether, there is internally a partition 
that has the form of a channel, of semi- 
circular section, which runs around the 
tube, T. The ball, B, when the egg 
is held vertically, is capable of revolving fio. i.-coi.iMr.r 


arouLiJ this tube, T, and as long as it remains in the chamiel will cause the 
egg to fall every time the operator endeavors to make it stand on its base, c. 
The egg can stand upright only on condition that the ball be made to pass from 
the upper to the lower compartment, in which case it will take the position, 
B'", at the base of the egg. This result is reached as follows: The central tube 
contains, just beneath its upper extremity, an aperture, B", that forms a 
communication between the two compartments, and that is sufficiently large 
to allow the ball to j^ass through. Two small guides start from the side of 
the egg, and follow the contours of the partition up to the orifice in the central 
tube. On a line with the orifice, and on the outside of the egg, there is a 


small and scarcely visible point, o. If the egg be sufficiently inclined toward 
this latter, as in Fig. 3, the ball will take the position, B', at the beginning of 
tlie guides leading to the orifice, B". If at this moment the egg be gently 
turned back in the opposite direction, tlie ball, being kept in the plane formed 
by the point, o, and the egg's axis, will run along the guides and drop through 
the orifice into the lower compartrnent. When the egg is righted, the ball will 
take the position, B'", at its base, and the egg will then stand upright. By 
turning the egg upside down, the ball may be made to enter the* upper com- 
partment again, and things will then be as before. 

With a little practice and skill, it is not even necessary to look for the posi- 
tion of the poiiit, (I, and thus run the risk. of showing the uninitiated how the 
trick is done. On giving the egg a slight angular motion, the hand will feel 
the passage of the ball over the slight projection formed by the guides; the 
])all will naturally seat itself upon the latter, and the double motion above 
mentioned will accomplish the desired result. Effected in this way, and the 
hand being covered with a handkerchief, the mode of operating will not be 
perceived by the uninitiated spectator. 




The simple toy illustrated in the annexed engraving is very illusive in 
action. When the upper block is grasped by the edges, as shown in Fig. 1, 
and turned so as to lift the second block in the series to the same height, the 
upper end of the second block falls into an inverted position, and appears to 

pass downward on the other members of 
the series, first upon one side of the lad- 
der and then npon the other, nutil it 
reaches the bottom. This effect is only 
apparent, as the second block in reality 
only falls back to its original position in 
the series, but in the operation it becomes 
reversed; what was before the lower end 

FIG. 1.— Jacob's ladder. 

FIC4. 2.— connections OF JACOB S LADDER. 


becoming the upper end, the front having exchanged phices with the back. 
This change of position of the second member brings it parallel with the third 
block, which is then released, and the third member drops over on the fourth, 
when the fiftii block is released, and so on throughout the entire series. 

In Fig. 3 are shown the three upper blocks of the series, 1, 2, and 3, and 
their connecting tapes, the blocks being represented as trans2)arent and sepa- 
rated from each other a short distance to show the arrangement of the connec- 
tions. Block 1 has attached to it tliree tapes, a, h, h. The tape, a, is attached 
to the face of the block at the center, at the upper end, and extends over the 
rounded end of this block and under the rounded end of block 2. The taj)es, 
h, b, are attached to the face of block 1, extending downward, under the lovver 
end of this block, and upward, over the upper end of block 2. The tape, a, 
Avhich is attached to the center of the up^jer face of block 2, extends over the 
end of this block, downward underneatli the block, and over the upper end of 
block 3, where it is secured. This arrangement of tapes is observed through- 
out the entire series. 

In Fig. 2, block 2 is represented as falling away from block 1. When block 
2 reaches block 3, the tape, a, Avill be parallel with the face of block 3, and the 
latter will be free to fall in a right-handed direction, in the same manner as 
block 2 is falling in a left-handed direction. When block 3 is parallel with 
block 4, the fourth block will fall over in the left-handed direction. 

The blocks, which are of pine, are each 3| inches long, 2f inches wide, and 
\ inch tliick. The tapes, which are each 4| iuches long and ^ wide, are fas- 
tened at the ends to tbe blocks by means of glue and by a snuill tack driven 
through each end of the tape, as shown. 


1'he annexed engraving represents an nmusing toy recently sold on the 
streets of New York. It is not particularly scientific, but it shows how a 
device having little novelty finds sale in places traversed by the multitude. 

It consists of the figure of a Japanese in sitting posture, representing the 
"Mikado." In his right haiul beholds a Japanese umbrella, and in his left 
a fan. 'I'he umbrella is provided with a little reel at the top. The stick of 
the umbrella in this case is formed of a tiil)o which is held by the hand of the 
Mikado, and a spindle attac'luu] to the und)rella top and passing through 
the tube, with its lower end resting upon a beveled wheel journaled within the 
figure. 'JMie beveled wheid carries a ci'auk pin working in a slotted arm that 
extends through the side of the figure atul grasps a fan, as shown in Fig. 2. 
When a cord is wound around the reel at the top of the umbrella, and drawn 
off after the Inanner of toj) s|iinuing. the umbrella s[)ins, giving a rotary 
motion to the beveled wheel, and the crank \)\\\ projecting from the wheel 




imparts an oscillating motion to tlie arm carrying the fan. The umbrella, 
being slightly out of balance, gives a vibratory motion to the figure, which 
causes it to rock slightly and turn upon its support. 


This simple toy for the diversion 
of children has been patented by 
Mr. Paxtou Pollard, a deaf-mute 
printer, of No. 89 Main Street, 
Norfolk, Va. When the cart is 
drawn along, either forward or 
backward, the figures are caused to 
bend or bow simultaneously ; and 
at the same time, by the compres- 
sion and escape of air through 
drum-like pedestals beneath the 
figures in the cart body, a whistling 
or scpiawking noise is nuidc. The 

1-(»I.I.AUI> ;< TOY ( Airr. 



TUK IMIONOdl'v \niir DOl.I,. 

figures may be of any de- 
sired grotesque shape, formed 
of paper or other suitable 
material, and in each is a 
spiral spring normally hold- 
ing the images upright. 
The pedestals, of which a 
sectional view is shown in the 
small figure, have each an 
upper and lower head and a 
covering of thin skin or 
something similar, and in 
each is a coil spring, while in 
each upper head is a small 
opening covered by a thin 
metallic tongue arranged to 
vibrate rapidly on the pas- 
sage of air through the open- 
ing. The upper portions of 
the two figures are connected 
by a transverse rod, and this 
rod is centrally connected by 
cord or rod with a crank in 
the central portion of the 
axle, whereby the figures are 
made to bend or bow as the 
cart is drawn along. 


One of the novelties 
which were introduced a few 
years ago was the talking 
doll. This interesting toy 
consisted of a good-sized doll 
which secreted a working 
phonograph. The doll's body 
is made of tin, and the in- 
terior thereof is lilled with 
mechanism very much like 
that of the commercial pho- 
nograph, but, of course, 



much more simple and inexpensive. Tlie cylinder of the phonograph of 
the talking doll is mounted on a sleeve which slides upon the shaft, the 
sleeve being screw-threaded so as to cause the cylinder to move lengthwise 
of the shaft. A key is provided by which the cylinder may be thrown out of 


engagement with the segmental nut, and a si)ira] spring is provided for 
returning the cylinder to the point of starting. The cylinder carries a ring of 
wax-like material upon which is recorded the speech or song to be repeated by 
the doll. Upon the same shaft with the recoi'd cylinder there is a large pulley 
which carries a belt for driving the flywheel shaxt at the lower j^art of the 
phonographic apparatus. The key is fitted to the main shaft, by which the 
phonographic cylinder is rotated, and the flywheel tends to maintain a uniform 


Above the record cylinder is arranged a diaphragm such as is used in tlie 
regular phonograph, carrying a reproducing stylus, which is mounted on a lever 
in the same manner as the regular phonograph. The funnel at the top of the 
phonographic apparatus opens underneath the breast of the doll, which is per- 
forated to permit the sound to escape. By the simple operation of turning the 
crank any child can make the doll say " Mary had a little lamb," "Jack and 
Jill," or whatever it was, so to speak, taught to say in the phonograph factory. 



Our last engraving shows the manner of preparing the wax-like records for 
the phonographic dolls. They are placed upon an instrument very much like 
an ordinary phonograph, and into the month of Avhich a girl speaks the words 
to be relocated by tiie doll. A large number of these girls are continually doing 
this work. Each one has a stall to herself, and the jangle produced by a num- 
ber of girls simultaneously repeating "Mary had a little lamb," "Jack and 
Jill," "Little Bo-peep," and other interesting stories, is beyond description. 
These sounds united with the sounds of the phonographs themselves when 
reproducing tlie stories make a veritable pandemonium. 

In passing through the works it is noticeable that order and system reign in 
every department. Everything is done upon the American, or '' piece," system. 
The tools and machinery here used are the finest procurable. Every piece, 
without regard to its size or importance, is carefully inspected by aid of stand- 
ard gauges, so that when the parts are brought together, no additional work is 
required to cause them to act properly. 

The works of the doll are to some extent adjustable, and any adjustment 
necessary is effected in an extensive department in which the little phono- 
graphs are received from the assembling-rooms. Here they receive the finish- 
ing touches, and are passed on to another room where they are placed in the 
bodies of the dolls. From this department the finished dolls pass on to the 
packing-room, where they are carefully stored away in boxes having on their 
labels the name of the story the doll is able to repeat. 



interestinct teicks in elasticity. 

The clever trick with billiard balls shown in Figs. 1 and 2 depends for its 
success on a truly scientific principle. A number of billiard balls are placed 
in a row against the cushion of the table. The player asks one of the specta- 
tors to name a certain number of balls to be pocketed without any ai:)paient 
disturbance of the others. Suppose the number to be three. Then at the 
will of the player three balls separate from the others and roll into the pocket. 
The number is perfectly controllable, and when the hand of the player and one 



end of the row of balls iiS covered, the trick appears mysterious. It is hardly 
less so when the entire experiment is visible. Tlie feat is accomplished bv 
removing from one end of the series as many balls as arc to be projected from 
the opposite end, and rolling them forward against the end of the row remain- 
ing. An equal munber of balls fly off from the opposite end of the row and 
roll into the pocket. Three balls driven against one end of the series will cause 
three to roll off, two will drive off two, one will drive off one, and so on. 

The principle of this trick is illustrated in the well-known classroom 
experiment in which a series of contacting suspended balls of highly elastic 
material are made to transmit a blow delivered on the first of the series to the 
last ball of the series, so that the last ball will fly off without any apparent 
disturbance of the other balls. In this experiment, the first ball of the series 
is drawn back and allowed to fall against the first one of those remaining in 
contact. The impact of this ball will slightly flatten the ball Avith which it 
comes in contact, and each ball in turn transmits its momentum to the next, 
and so on through the entire series, the last of the series being thrown out as 

In the case of the experiment with the billiard balls it is found by careful 
observation that separate blows are given to the series, corresponding in num- 
ber to the number of balls removed, so that while the separation of the three 
balls at the end of the series is apparently simultaneous, in reality they are 
separated one at a time. 

In Fig. 3 is illustrated a method of repeating the experiment with coins in 
lieu of balls. Dollars or half dollars may be used, and the effect is produced by 
sliding the coins. 


Our engraving shows a single perforated piece of wood having the form of 
a conventional heart, and in the perforation is inserted an arrow, also formed 
of a single piece of wood, the barb and head being much larger than tlie per- 
foration in which the shank of the arrow is received. The heart is made of 
one kind of wood and the arrow of another. The question is. How did the 
arrow get into the heart? We have heard of the philosoj)her who was unable 
to rightly place a horse collar; and we have seen j)hilosophers who could readily 
harness a horse, but who could not explain how the arrow got into the heart. 

The puzzle illustrated is one of many thousands distributed gratuitously 
upon the streets of Xew York as an advertisement. The heart is of black 
walnut and the arrow is of basswood. Xow we fear that the secret is out; for 
any one familiar with the properties of basswood knows that it may be enor- 
mously compressed, after which it may be steamed and expanded to its original 
volume. One end of the arrow was thus compressed, and in its compressed 
state was passed through the aperture of the heart, after which it was expanded. 




Advantage has been taken of this principle in the manufaetiii-e of certain kinds 
of moldings. The portions of the wood to be left in relief are first com- 
pressed or pushed down by suitable dies below the general level of the board, 
then the board is planed down to a level surface, and afterward steamed. Tiie 
compressed portions of the boai'd are expanded by the steam, so that they 
stand out in relief. 


To lift three matches by means of one, it is necessary to make an incision 
in the end of a match and iTisert the pointed end of a second match into this 
incision. Place them on the table, with a third match resting against them 




for a support, as shown at the left of the figure. Tlieu present a niatcli to an}' 
one who may be looking on, and ask him to raise the three together Ijy means 
of the match in his hand. 

The solution is given at the right of the figure. 

Bear lightly against the two nnitches that are Joined until the third falls 
against the one held in the hand. Then raise it, and all three will be lifted 
together. Although this trick, which we find described in a French paper, 
" Ze Cliercheur,'''' is ])robably as ancient as the art of making matches, our 
juvenile readers may find it of interest, and possibly it may afford them a half 
hour's amusement at recess time. 


A beautiful ornament, which is very easily made, consists of a wooden 
cross covered with canton flannel, with tiie nap side out, and crystallized by 
immersion in a solution of alum. The nap retains the crystals so that the}' are 


not readily loosened or detached. The flannel should be attached to the wood 
by means of brass wire nails, and the cross should be suspended in a solution 
formed by dissolving a pound of alum in a gallon of warm water. The cross 
should be suspended in the solution while it is still warm and allowed to 
remain in until the solution cools, when it will be found covered with bright 

Fig. 1 is a perspective view, and Fig. 2 a longitudinal section, of a grotto 
formed by crystallizing alum in a box containing jagged points covered with 
canton flannel, or wrapped about in various directions with coarse thread or 
twine. The box may be of wood or metal. It should have apertures in the top, 
ends, and sides. These apertures are stopped with corks while the box is 
filled with solution. After the crystallization the corks are removed, and the 
holes in the top, sides, and one end are covered with colored glass, and over the 



front aperture is secured a convex spec- 
tacle lens, having a focus about equal 
to the length of the box, AVhen the 
interior of the box is illuminated by a 
strong light passing through the colored 
windows, the effect is fine. 

The solution used in this case is the 
same as that given for the cross. After 
the crystals are formed and the liquid is 
ponred from the box, the interior should 
be allovved to dry thoroughly before clos- 
ing the apertures. 


It is well known that the vapors of mercury are very diffusive in their 
nature, and some quite singular experiments have been devised, based upon this 
knowledge, and upon the fact that the salts of silver and the chlorides of gold, 
platinum, iridium, and palladium are affected by these mercurial vapors. 

If any one, for instance, should write upon a sheet of white paper with 
platinum chloride, no mark would be visible, as the liquid is quite colorless. 
If, however, the same sheet of paper should be held over a little mercury, the 
metal will be brought.out on the paper in dark tints. This magical appari- 
tion of a figure or drawing on a sheet of paper which appears to be perfectly 
white is very astonishing to the spectator. 




Reversing the experiment, a no less marvelous result is obtained. At lirst 
expose tlie drawing or writing to the gases of mercury ; the lines will become 
charged with mercury, and then by simply bringing the drawing in contact 
with a sheet of paper previously sensitized with a solution of platinum, the 
drawing will be reproduced, line for line, on the white paper. 

Drawings made in this way give a charming effect^ the tones being very soft 
and the lines distinct and clear. 


An able chemist, C. AVideman, has recently devised a curiosity m the way 
of engraving. It is a square piece of transjiarent glass in Avhich absolutely 
nothing can be seen, even on the closest examination. If the glass be breathed 


upon, so as to cover its surface with moisture, a face like that shown in the cut 
makes its appearance. As soon as the moisture leaves the glass, the image dis- 

A piece of glass is obtained similar to that used for making mirrors. The 
glass maybe transparent, tinned, or silvered; that makes no diflFerence as to 
the final result. Then a small quantity of fluorspar is placed in a porcelain 
capsule and moistened w4th sufficient sulphuric acid to make the proper chemi- 


cal reaction to write Avith. W ith tliis liquid uikI a quill pen the desired draw- 
ing or writing is executed on the previously well-cleaned glass. In about five 
minutes, or ten at the most, the glass is to be washed in common water and 
dried with a cloth. The plate will then be ready, and it will only be necessary 
to breathe upon it to see the figures that have thus been traced make their 

A little practice will show the exact time necessary to leave the fluid lines 
on the glass. Too long a biting of the acid would be accompanied by so deep 
an engraving of the glass that the lines wonld always be perceptible, even on 
the dry glass. 


We presfMit ati engraving of a trick opera glass which may be new to some 
of our readers, although the principle involved is very old. One tube of the 
opera glass is constructed in the ordinary manner, being provided Avith lenses, 
while the other tube is arranged to give a view of any object at right angles to 
the line of vision of the normal tube, or considerably to the rear of it. The 
trick tube has no eyepiece, and the objective is done away with, a piece of 
japanned wood taking its place. A portion of the tube and its leather cover is 




cut away, and a mirror is inserted at an angle in the tube. When the observer 
wishes to use the trick ghiss at short range/ he covers up a portion of the 
opening in the tube with his fingers, but at longer range this precaution would 
not be necessary. The practical uses of the glass are a])parent. Our engrav- 
ing shows a phin view of a theater, with the stage, boxes, and seats. The gen- 
tleman in the box and the one on the right of the center aisle both appear to 
be observing the actor on the stage, but in reality they are observing the lady 
on the left of the center aisle. Of course each of the gentlemen has his 
glasses turned a different way around. 


The naturalness and the easy movement of the wings of the little toy bird 
shown in the accompanying illustration, as the operator pulls gently on the end 
of the supporting string over which the bird moves, in accordance with the 
movement of the wings, always attracts observers Avhen this toy is shown on 
the streets, as it has been by numerous venders within a short time. The tov 
is one of the latest of the many novelties which are constantly being ex- 
hibited by the wide-awake salesmen in the streets of New York and other large 
cities, and in the construction of some of which a surprising degree of skill and 
ingenuity are displayed. The cord leading from the aperture below the mouth 



of the bird is attached at its outer end to a hook in the wall or other support, 
while its inner j)ortion passes over an idler and around a pulley, to which it is 
attached. This pulley is a little smaller than another at its side, as shown in 
Fig. 2, both pulleys being fast on the same shaft, and a cord from the larger 
pulley passes over an idler and out rearwardly, having at its end a finger-piece, 
on which the operator pulls in manipulating the toy. The cords are wound in 
opposite directions on their pulleys, so that the unwinding of the cord from the 
larger pulley, and the rotation of the same, winds up the cord on the smaller pul- 
ley, and causes the bird to move forward on what seems to be only a single length 
of cord, the backward movement taking place by gravity when the pull on the 
string is released. The movement of the wings is effected by a crank on each 
outer end of the pulley shaft, the crank being pivotally connected with an 
extension of a member of the inner one of two pairs of lazy tongs, and this 
member having also a pivotal bearing on a crossbar which turns in bearings on 
the outer side of the toy, just under where the wings are hinged to the body. 
The larger pair of lazy tongs is pivotally connected to the outer portion of the 
wing, giving a longer sweep thereto than to the inner portion, with which the 
smaller lazy tongs are connected; and the j^ivotal connection of the lazy tongs 
with the bearing in the crossbar gives an oscillatory movement to the wings, 
which constitutes a very good simulation of the natural movement of the wings 
of a bird in flight. A high degree of mechanical skill is shown in the putting 
together of this little toy. 


This curious toy was popular as far back as 1867. Marvelous tales were 
told by the credulous about it, and even as distinguished scientists as Profes- 
sor Tyndall and Professor Faraday were drawn into controversies concerning 
it. Many think there is some hidden secret .in the construction of the plan- 
chette table. All that is necessary is that it should stand firmly and move 
readily on its legs. All that is needful is a heart-shaped cedar board with two 
nicely turned metal legs carrying well-oiled casters, and in the point of the 
board an aperture of suitable size for the insertion of a lead pencil, which serves 
as the third leg, and rests upon the paper. Many believe that humbug was 
Btamj)ed over every movement of the planchette board, and that one or the 
other of those whose hands bore upon it cons])ired with the little board in the 
fortnuhition of its reply. Certain it is that planchette has performed some 
curious feats and has made for itself a jiosition in the world of mysteries. 

Prol)al)ly tlu; most generally aece]ited explanatitui is that advanced by I^ewes 
and others, that although tliei'o is no intentional movenicnt of the hands of 
tiiose wlio are subjecting planchette to the influeiu^e, still there is, in s])ite of 
tliis, an unconscious ])ressure of the finger ti})S u])on the b(jard. which directs 
the movement of the pen(;il. Nor does it seem that such can be at all un- 



likely, for unconscious movement is by no means an unusual phase of our 
existence. The somnambulist who nightly takes a promenade from cellar to 
garret, or whose steps by chance have led him to the border of a precipice, has 
as little knowledge of the peril he has escaped, when the morning beams have 
awakened him, as planchette is conscious of its movements. How often also in 
mercantile pursuits do those who are accustomed to a certain routine perform it 
unconsciously, and after the work has been finished would be unable to tell you 
of many of the details of the work which custom has taught them to perform 
correctly, even while in a state of abstraction. Much. has been said at times of 


planchette's prophetic nature. Under the influence of certain people of a 
highly nervous temperament, or having to a certain extent the qualities of 
mediums, future events are said to be foretold. Secrets of whicli the person 
touching planchette is in ignorance have been divulged in a remarkable way, 
and many anecdotes shrouding planchette in mystery are repeated and believed. 
Were the testimony, however, more universal, were planchette more con- 
sistent, and were it more generally truthful and less given to uttering remark- 
able sayings only occasionally, there would be more reason for according it a 
place for thorough and systematic investigation. J'erha})S the day will come, 
when mesmerism is understood and mind reading is more satisfactorily 
explained, in which there will be occasion for looking u])on planchette more seri- 
ously, and of regarding it as a wonderful nu'ans of displaying a rational nervous 
action independent of conscious mental ('(M-c])i'ation. 




Mv. R. W. Atkinson, of the Uuiv^ersity of Tokio, Japan, communicates 
to " Nature " the following interesting account of these curious mirrors: 

" A short time ago a friend showed me a curious effect, which I had previ- 
ously heard of, but had never seen. Tlie ladies of Japan use, in making their 
toilet, a small round mirror about one-twelfth to one-eighth of an inch in 
thickness, made of a kind of speculum metal, brightly polished, and coated 
with mercury. At the back there are usually various devices, Japanese or Chi- 
nese written characters, badges, etc., standing out in strong relief, and brightly 
polished like the front surface. Now, if the direct rays of the sun are allowed 
to fall upon the front of the mirror, and are then reflected on a screen, in a 
great many cases, though not in all, the figures at the back will appear to shine 
through the substance of the mirror as bright lines npon a moderately bright 

" I have since tried several mirrors as sold in the shops, and in most cases 
the appearance described has been observed with more or less distinctness. 

*"I have been nuable to find 
a satisfactory explanation of this 
fact, but on considering the 
mode of manufacture I was led 
to suppose that the pressure to 
which the mirror was subjected 
during polishing, and which is 
greatest on the parts in relief, 
was concerned in the production 
of the figures. On putting this 
to the test by rubbing the back 
of the mirror with a blunt-pointed 
instrument, and permitting the 
rays of the sun to be reflected 
from the front surface, a bright 
line appeared in the image cor- 
responding to the position of the 
part rubbed. This experiment 
is quite easy to repeat; a scratch 
with a knife or with any other 
hard body is sufficient. It would 
seem as if the pressure upon the 
back during polishing caused 
some change in the reflecting sur- 
face corresponding to the raised 
})arts whereby the amount of 
.lAi'ANKSK M.vfiic Miuuoii. light rcflectcd was ureater; or 


supposing that of the light which falls \\\)o\\ tiie surface, a part is absorbed 
aud the rest reflected, those parts corresponding to the raised portions on the 
back are altered by the pressure in such a way that less is absorbed, and there- 
fore a bright image appears. This, of course, is not an explanation of the 
phenomenon, but I j^ut it forward as perhaps indicating the direction in which 
a true explanation may be looked for." 

The following account of the manufacture of the Japanese mirrors is 
taken from a paper by Dr. Geerts, read before the Asiatic Society of Japan, 
and appearing in their " Transactions" for 1875-7G, p. 39: 

"For preparing the mold, which consists of two parts jiut together witi) 
their concave surfaces, the workman first powders a kind of rough plastic clay, 
and mixes this with levigated powder of a blackish * tuflf-stone ' and a little 
charcoal powder and water, till the paste is plastic aud suitable for being 
molded. It is then roughly formed by the aid of a wooden frame into square 
or round cakes; the surface of the latter is covered with a levigated half- 
liquid mixture of powdered ' cliamottc ' (old crucibles which have served for 
melting bronze or copper) and water. Thus well prepared, the blackish paste 
in the frame receives the concave designs by the aid of woodcuts, cut in relief. 
The parts of the mold are put together in the frame and dried. Several 
of these flat molds are then placed in a melting box made of clay and ^ cha- 
motte.'' This box has on the top an opening into which the liquid bronze is 
poured after it has been melted in small fireproof clay crucibles. The liquid 
metal naturally fills all openings inside the box, and consequently also the cavi- 
ties of the moulds. For mirrors of first quality the following metal mixture 
is used in one of the largest mirror foundries in Kioto: 

Lead 5 parts. 

Tin 15 " 

Copper _80 "' 

''For mirrors of itiferior quality are taken: 

Lead 10 parts. 

Natural sulphide of lead and antimonv 10 " 

Copper '. _80 " 


" After being cooled, the melting box and molds are crushed and the mir- 
rors taken away. These are then cut, scoured, and filed until they are roughly 
finished. They are then first polished with a polishing powder called to-no-ki, 
which consists of the levigated powder of a soft kind of whetstone (fn-ishi) 
found in Yamato and many other j)laces. Secondly, they are polished with a 
piece of charcoal and water, the charcoal of the wood lio-no-ki {Magnolia hypo- 
leuca) being preferred as the best for the purpose. When the surfaces of the 
mirrors are well polished they are covered with a layer of mercury amalgam 
consisting of quicksilver, tin, and a little lead. The amalgam is rubbed 


vigorously with a piece of soft leather, which mauipulation must be continued 
for a long time, until the excess of mercury is expelled and the mirrors have a 
fine, bright reflecting surface." 


The following article on magic mirrors by MM. Bertin and Dubosq outlines 
several interesting experiments. 

" The people of the Far East, the Chinese and the Japanese, in bygone 
times were acquainted with metallic mirrors only; and even to-day they make 
only these. They are made of speculum metal, of various forms and sizes, 
but always portable. One of the faces is polished and always slightly convex, 
so that its reflection gives images which are reduced in size; the other face is 
plane or slightly concave, and always has cast on it ornaments which are in 
relief. Among the many mirrors thus constructed there are a few which 
possess a wonderful property: when abeam of the sun's light falls upon the 
polished surface and is reflected on a white screen, we see in the disk of light 
thus formed the image of the ornamentation which is on the back of the mir- 
ror. The Chinese have long known of these mirrors and value them highly; 
they call them by a name which signifies ' mirrors which are permeable to the 
light.' We, of the West, call them ' magic mirrors.' 

" Very few persons had seen magic mirrors till Mr. Ayrton, professor of the 
Polytechnic School at Yeddo, exhibited several which he had brought with 
him from Japan, and he experimented with them as already mentioned. 

"In the meantime I received a visit from M. Dybowski, my former pupil, 
who had returned from Japan, where for two years he had been the colleague 
of Professor Ayrton. He brought back with him as objects of curiosity four 
t&mple mirrors, that is to say, antique mirrors; tliese are far superior to those 
of modern production, for their manufacture has been nearly abandoned by 
reason of the introduction of the silvered mirrors of Europe. We tried them 
together; three were circular, and the thinnest of them, which is a disk of 15.3 
centimeters in diameter, was found to be slightly magic. 

"To try such a mirror we reflect a sunbeam from its polished surface to a 
white cardboard about one meter distant. But to obtain the very best effects 
we must illuminate the mirror with a diverging pencil of light; this pencil is 
made still further divergent by reflection from the mirror, because its reflecting 
Burface is convex. AVe can now receive the reflected rays on a screen at a 
greater distance, and we at once see distinctly the magnified image of the orna- 
mentation on the back of the mirror. These raised designs appear on the 
screen in white on a dark ground. The image thus made by our mirror was 
confused, because it was not a good one; had it been properly made, the image 



would have been sharply defined. I then knew of no means by which I could 
make it give better effects. 

" The means by which the mirror could have been improved were first jiointed 
out by M. Govi in the second of his two j^apers. It is a consequence of the 
true theory of magic mirrors. The theory was not reached at once. I proposed 
to M. Dubosq to associate himself with me in order, first, to repeat the experi- 
ments of the learned Italian, Govi, and then to study generally the interesting 
phenomena of magic mirrors, in the hope of being able eventually to repro- 
duce them in his workshops. At first we had only at our disposal the mirror 


brought from Japan by ]\I. Dybowski, and which gave confused images with 
the reflected solar rays. These images became very sharply defined when we 
had heated the back of the mirror with a gas lamp, and it gave very magic 

" We then made a mold and reproduced this mirror, not in Japanese bronze, 
but in ordinary gun metal. Tlie first copy was roughly worked on the lathe, 
after the Japanese manner, in order to render it magical, but this was broken. 
The second was worked carefully on an optical grinding tool; the surface was 
then polished and nickel plated, but it was not magical; it acquired this prop- 
erty in a high degree when it was heated, and even retained traces of it after 
it had been repeatedly heated. Several Japanese mirrors which Ave have pro- 
cured have given analogous results. 


"We then engraved' letters on the back of little rectangular Japanese mir- 
rors. On heating these the letters appeared in black in the reflected image. 
When we cut lines around the design on the back of the mirror, heat rendered 
them very magical, for the design stood out, framed in the black lines which 
bordered the figures. 

" Thus it is seen that heat is very efficacious in rendering mirrors magical, 
but it is not without its inconveniences. First of all, it injures the mirrors, 
which thus lose their polish, especially when tliey ha\o been amalgamated; 
also, the mirror is often not heated equally, and the images are deformed. It 
occurred to us that the change of curvature wliich was required could be 
obtained more uniformly by means of pressure. M. Dubosq therefore con- 
structed a shallow cylinder of metal, closed at one end by the metallic mirror, 
and at the other by a flat plate of brass, having in its center a stopcock 
which M'e could attach, by means of a rubber tube, to a little hand pump. This 
pump could be made either to condense or rarefy aii\ If the rubber tube was 
attached to the pump, arranged as a condenser, a few strokes of the piston 
sufficed to compress sufficiently the air in the shallow cylinder; the mirror 
became more and more convex, the cone of reflected rays became more and 
more open, and in the image on the screen the design on the back of the mir- 
ror became more and more distinct. Our Japanese mirror when thus treated 
gave very fine images, and the copy which we had made, and which gave no 
result as ordinarily experimented with, now became a magic mirror as 2)erfect 
as any of those which Professor Ayrton had exhibited before us. A mirror in 
brass, nickel plated, on whose back was soldered tin-plate figures, around 
whose borders were cut lines, became very magical by pressure, and gave the 
design on its back in light surrounded by dark borders. 

"This is what I call the positive image. We can also obtain the negative 
image, or the inverse of the preceding one, by rarefying the air in the shallow 
box. To do this we have only to attach the rubber tube to the pump arranged 
as an ordinary air pump. On now working the piston the air in the shallow 
box is rarefied; the mirror becomes concave; the cone of the diverging reflected 
rays closes up; the image of the design is reduced in size, changes its appearance, 
and becomes an image of the design on the back of the mirror; but this now 
Bhows in shade edged with bright borders. 

" These experiments require an intense light. A jet of coal gas is insufficient, 
but the oxyhydrogen liglit is sufficiently intense. We iutercejit it with a screen 
perforated with a snudl hole, so that the diverging pencil which falls on the 
mirror may not spread too much. Tiie mirror is mounted on the top of a 
column so that it can be made to face in any required direction. TJie effects 
arc most brilliant and the best defined when we experiment with the rays of the 
sun. When we expose the mirror to the beam of the parte-lumiHre it is gener- 
ally not entirely covered by the light; in this case it is best to use a diverging 
beam, obtained by means of a lens })laced between the piirte-hiiiiiere and the 

" Thus we have seen that we can now make copies of the Japanese mirrors, 


some of whicli nuiy he magical, I)iit all may he rendered so hy making tlieni 
covers of the shallow box containing either conijiressed or rarefied air. This 
pressure box and its mirror, made in the Japanese style, certainly forms one of 
the most curions pieces of apparatus which is to be found in the cabinet of 

" We shall not, however, stop here. One of these days, while our mirror is 
magical under the influence of pressure, we will take a cast of its surface, and 
then reproduce this by means of galvano-deposition. This surface will have 
all the irregularities of that of the magic mirror, and will produce by its 
reflected rays the image of a design which no longer exists on its back." 





This is not a photographic diversiou, but it is so interesting and so mnch 
of a historical curiosity that we reproduce it here. When first introduced, 
the silhouette attracted the attention of the learned, and was regarded as 
one of the wonders of the age. Lavater, in his celebrated work on physiog- 
nomy, describes an accurate and convenient machine for drawing silhouettes. 
The engraving is almost self-explanatory. ''The shadow," says Lavater, "is 
projected upon a fine paper, well oiled and dried, and placed behind a piece of 
plate glass supported in a frame secured to the back of the chair. Behind this 
glass the artist stands, and holding the frame with one hand, draws with the 
other." A candle was used to furnish the necessary light. The proportions of 
the silhouette must be judged principally from the length and breadth of the 
face; a correct and well-proportioned profile should be equal in breadth and 
height. A horizontal line drawn from the point of the nose to the back of the 
liead (provided the head be erect) should not exceed in length a perpendicular 
line which extends from the top of the head to the junction of the chin and head. 
All of the forms which deviate sensibly from this rule are so many anomalies. 




In support of these observations Lavater gives a iminber of siiecimens of sil- 
lionettes, and insists upon the conchision Avhich he deduces from their study. 
We take a few examples of them. In No. 1 Lavater sees an upright soul, an 
even temper, taste, and frankness; in No. 2 the contour of the nose carries 
the infallible mark of a good temper; in No. 3 we have clearness of judgment. 


Some of the most interesting trick photographs are obtained by the use of 
a black background. In brief, the process consists in limiting the field of an 
objective so as to preserve intact for subsequent exposures the unused portion 
of the sensitized plate, and to be able to obtain upon the latter such combina- 
tions as may be desired of any number whatever of successive poses. The 
annexed diagram shows the arrangements which may be used. Nos. I. to IIL 
are the ones most frequently used, and No. lY. ])ermits of taking a number of 
])liotographs analogous to the one that we reproduce in our second engraving. 


Where a kneeling girl is represented as a statuette upon a table, the operator 
is seen in. the rear, manipulating the rubber bulb which controls the shutter. 
In Fig. 3 is shown a picture taken in open daylight, using as a black background 
the opening of a large coach house; as a screen, a piece of blackened cardboard 
was used, as is shown, su])ported by a violin stand to the right of the figures. 
Now, if we closelv examine the child who, in front of the cart, is assisting in 







the delivery of Lis own head, we shall find that it \a traversed vertically by a 
line of shadows, indicating that a slight veil was prodnced'at the first exposure 
upon all that portion of plate tliat was exposed by the incompletely drawn 
shutter of the frame. If the plate had been entirely exposed it would be dif- 
ficult to suspect anything. 

The apparatus for producing the composite photographs upon a black back- 
ground is very simple. A blackened piece of cardboard is provided with an 
aperture nearly corresponding to the place ]) reserved in the definitive picture 
for the object, head, bust, etc., that one desires to isolate. This screen is slid 
into the first fold of the bellows of the camera, that is to say, very close to the 

FKi. ti.— ANOTIIKU 1)Kc:aPITAT10N. 

sensitized plate, and at the moment of focusing, the position of the apparatus 
is 80 regulated as to make the imago of the subject appear through the aper- 
tures in the screen and in the proper position. '^Fhis process is the most 
rapid and is the surest. No reflection is any longer possible, and the preserva- 
tion of the plate is absolute. What is no less advantageous is the sharpness of 
the outline, which permits of the most delicate junctions; such sharpness is 
inversely proportioned to the distance that separates the screen from the sensi- 
tized plate. We ])resent a numl)er of engravings of photographs taken upon a 
black background. 







Our next engraving represents a decapitation by means of a saber, and it is 
taken by means of an exposure in Avliicli the head was placed upon a block, 
the subject inclining forward upon his knees, and the diaphiagm occupying 
about two-thirds of the plate, completely masking the body up to the neck. 
Then, without changing the position of the apparatus, the diaphragm is placed 
on the other side in order to conceal the head, and the body is photographed in 
the second position along with the person rejiresentiug the executioner. It 
would have been possible by a third exposure to so arrange things as to nuike 
the executioner the decapitated person. By the same process the following 
trick photographs are made. 


The sawed-off head is one of the best of these photographs. Fig. 10 gives 
the same individual photographed twice on two different scales. This kind of 
reduction gives very astonishing results. 

The most curious illusion of all is the one in which a nuin is seen inside of 
a bottle. The individual represented was first photographed on a sufficiently 
reduced scale to allow him to appear to enter the bottle. Tlie diaphragm was 
arranged around the subject. The bottle was then photographed on a large 
scale, and the result is, the man is seen in the bottle. 



Many years ago, in the old wet-collodion days, a well-known photographer 
was one day surprised by the visitation of a spirit. The apparition did not 
make its appearance during the nocturnal hours, as is, we have been given to 
understand, the custom of these ladies and gentlemen from the other world, 
but, strangely enough, in broad daylight; and not by his bedside to disturb his 
peaceful slumber, but upon the photograph he was in the act of producing. 
Had this gentleman been of that soft-brained kind, so easily gulled by the 
professional spiritualist, it is possible that he would not have done what he did, 
which was to make a thorough and scientific examination as to the probable 
cause of the phenomenon. The case was this: A gentleman sitter had been 
taken in the usual manner upon a collodion plate. Upon taking a positive 
print from the negative, he was surprised to fmd a dim white figure of a lady 
apparently hovering over the unconscious sitter. Upon examination of the 
negative, the image of the figure was also visible, but not so plainly as in the 
positive. The explanation of the whole matter was soon made easy. In those 
days glass was not so cheap as at j^resent, and all new or spoiled negatives were 
cleaned off and freshly prepared with collodion for further use. In this case 
the glass had jireviously supported the negative image of a lady dressed in 
white. Some chemical action had evidently taken place between the image 
and the glass itself, turning the latter slightly yellow in some parts. This 
faint yellow image, altliough hardly visible in the negative, had, being of a 
non-actinic color, given quite a distinct image in the positive. The case was 
not an isolated one, as these spirit photographs, as they were called, often 
made their appearance when old negatives were cleaned and the glass used 
again. 'Y\\e precise action producing the image has never, we think, been sat- 
isfactorily explained. It could often be made more distinct by breathing on 
the glass. We do not know if any enterprising humbug ever took advantage 
of this method of producing spirit photographs to extort money from the 
unwary, but about ten years ago a work was published, entitled " Chronicles of 
the Photograj^hs of Spiritual Beings and Phenomena Invisible to the Material 
Eye," by a Miss Houghton. In this a number of reproductions of photo- 
graphs of "spirits" were given with a detailed explanation of how they were 
obtained and the difficulties attending their production, the "spirits" being 
apparently of very independent natures, only making their appearance when 
they felt so inclined. It is quite possible that a person entirely ignorant of 
photogra[)liic methods might be led into the belief that they were actually 
photographic images of tlie dead, but we fear tliat the book is hardly well 
enough written to deceive tlie experienced ])h()t()grapher. At certain and most 
unfortiiiuite })eriods in the process employed, some of the i)lates had a convcn- 

*From "Photographic Amusements," by Walter E. Woodbury. New York, 1896. The 
Scovill & Adams Co., publishers. 



ieut habit of slipping into the washing tank and tliere, according to the author, 
becoming utterly ruined; also we learn that many were ruined by being acci- 
dentally smudged by the photographer's fingers. We should not, we fear, have 
a very high opinion of an operator who was in the constant habit of " smudg- 
ing " negatives with his fingers so as to entirely spoil them, nor can we quite 
understand what brand of plates was used that " got spoiled by falling into the 
water. ' ' 

A "spirit" photograph. 

It is not difficult to explain how these pictures Avere produced. There are 
quite a number of methods. With a weak-minded sitter, over whom the oper- 
ator had complete control, tlie matter would Ije in no wise a difficult one. It 
would then only be necessary for the '" si)irit," suitably attired for the occasion, 
to ap^iear for a few seconds behind the sitter during the exposure and be taken 
slightly out of focus, so as not to a2)pear too corporeal. 

If, however, the sitter be of another kind, anxious to discover how it was 
done and on the alert for any deceptive practices, the method described would 
be rather a risky one, as he might turn round suddenly at an inconvenient 
moment and detect the mothis operandi. In such a case it sometimes becomes 
necessary to find some other method where it would not be requisite for the 
'* spirit" to make its appearance during the j)resence of tlie sitter. 

The ghostly image can be preparetl upon the plate either before or after the 
exposure of the sitter. The method is this: In a darkened room the draped 
figure to represent the spirit is posed in a spirit-like attitude (whatever that 


may be) in front of a dark background with a suitable magnesium or other 
light arrangement thrown upon the figure, which is then focused in the 
"naturalistic" style; or, better still, a fine piece of muslin gauze is placed 
close to the lens, which gives a hazy, indistinct appearance to the image. The 
exposure is made and the latent image remains upon the sensitized plate, which 
is again used to photograph the sitter. Upon developing we get the two 


images, the " spirit " mixed up Avith the figure. The '' sjjirit " should be as in- 
distinct as possible, as it will then be less easy for the subject to dispute the state- 
ment that it is the spirit-form of his dead and gone relative. Some amouut 
of discretion in this part of the performance must be used, we fancy, otherwise 
the same disaster might happen as did to a spiritualist some little time ago. 
An elderly gentleman had come for na seance, and, after some mysterious 
maneuvers, the gentleman was informed that the spirit of his mother was 
there. "Indeed!" replied the gentleman, somewhat astonished. "What 



does she say?" ''She says she will see you soon/' informed the medium. 
" You are getting old now and must soon join her." " Quite riglit," replied 
the old gentleman ; "I'm going round to lier house to tea to-night." — Total 
collapse of spiritualist. 

Fluorescent substances, such as bisulphate of quinine, can also be em- 
ployed. This compound, although almost invisible to the eve, ])hotographs 


nearly black. If a white piece of paper be painted with the substance, excejit 
on certain parts, the latter only will appear white in the picture. 

We hope that it will not be inferred that we desire to explain how to deceive 
persons with regard to photographs of "spirits," for this is not so; we only 
hope that they will be made merely for amusement, and, if possible, to expose 
persons who practice on the gullibility of inexperienced persons. 

The engraving on page 43G is a reproduction of a "spirit" photograph 
made by a photographer claiming to be a "spirit photographer," and to have 


TRICK mo TO a RA pn Y. 


the power to call tliese ladies and gentlemen from the "vasty deep " and make 
them impress their imago upnn tlio pensitized plate by the side of the portraits 
of their living relatives. 

Fortunately, however, we were in this case able to expose the fraud. ]\rr. 
W. M. Murray, a prominent member of the Society of Amateur Photogra- 
phers of Xew York, called our attention to the similarity between one of the 
"spirit" images and a portrait painting by Sichel the artist. 


A reproduction of the picture is given herewith, and it will bo seen at 
once that the " spirit " image is copied from it. 

In a recent number of " The Australian Photogi'aphic Journal " we read of 
the following novel method of making so-called " spirit " photographs: '* Take 
a negative of any supposed ' spirit ' that is to be represented, put it in the 
printing frame with the film side out; lay on the glass side a piece of platino- 
type paper with the sensitive side u]v. clamp in place the back of the printing 
frame and expose to the sun for half a minute. Now place in the printing 


frame the negative of another person to whom the ' spirit ' is to appear, and over 
it put the previously exposed sheet, film side down; expose to the sun for two 
minutes until the image is faintly seen, then develop in the usual way, and the 
blurred ' spirit ' photograph will ajipear faintly to one side or directly behind the 
distinct image. Sheets of paper Avith different ghost exposures can be pre- 
pared beforehand." 

" Spirit " photograi^hs might easily be made by means of Professor Roent- 
gen's newly discovered process of impressing an image upon a photographic 
dry-plate without uncovering the shutter. The process would, however, entail 
considerable expense, and would necessitate -the use of so much costly apparatus 
that we will content ourselves with the simple mention of the possibility. 


The mirage is a well-known natural phenomenon, especially in tropical coun- 
tries. Our engraviug shows an intei'esting experiment which permits of repro- 
ducing a mirage by photography. A very even plate of sheet iron is taken and 
placed horizontally upon two supports. The i^late is heated very uniformly 
and sprinkled with sand. A small, painted Egyptian landscape is arranged at 
one end of the ])late, and the " eye " of the photographic instrument is so placed 
that the visual ray may be said to graze the plate. The mirage can be photo- 
graphed as shown in our engraving. 


The following very ingenious method is pointed out by M. H. Due, of 
Grenoble. It consists in making use of a special frame which, instead of 
having a sliding sliutter, is provided with two shutters that operate like the 

leaves of a door. These shutters, B B (Fig. 1), 
l)ivot upon two vertical axes, A A, whose upper 
extremities 2'>i'oject from the frame so that they 
can be maneuvered from the exterior. As the 
shutters must join very accurately, M. Due affixes 
asbestos paper to their edges. A sliding steel 
plate, E i), permits of keeping the two shutters 
closed before and after exposure. This is removed 
when the frame is in the camera. 

The ground glass is divided into two parts by a 

pencil line that exactly tallies with the junction 

line of the shutters. The subject is focused on 

Fio. i.-PLATE FKAME. oue of the halves of the glass, and then the 


corresponding side of the frame is unmasked. After exposure the model 
changes place, and then the other side of the frame is opened. 

The photograph reproduced in Fig. 2 was taken in this manner. It contains 
three representations of the same person. The easel, stool, and artist having 


been arranged, an image is taken on the left side of the plate, then the painter 
moves his position to the right and a second exposure is made. The portrait 
on the easel is that of the same person, but was taken afterward on the jiositive 
by means of the negative and a vignetter (Fig. 3). 

The other photograph (Fig. 4) is likewise very curious, and was taken Avith 
the same apparatus. A liat was fixed firmly to a head rest, ami the same person 
then glided under it and presented his two profiles. 

Fin. :!. vi(;netteu. 





The amnsiug examples of illusive photography which we show herewith are 
due to Mr. Frank A. Gilmore, of Auburn, R. I. The camera is so arranged 
that the j^ictures which are reproduced suggest the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. 
Hyde. The porter with the sack and the gentleman who is about to give him 
some money are one and the same person. The pedestrian is walking with 
himself, and the fighter is prepared to annihilate himself. 

The method of producing the illusion is very simple. A black-lined box is 
fitted to the back of a " kodak " or any other camera; the front of tlie box is 
closed by two doors. On opening one door a picture may be taken on one 
side of the plate; on closing this door and opening the other, the other half 
of the plate is ready for exposure. The subject poses in one position and his 
photograph is taken with one door open, care being taken to bring the figure 
within half of the area of the sensitized plate. A good finder enables this 
detail to be attended to. Then one door is closed and the other is opened, and 
the exposure of the other half of the plate is accomplished. The plate holder 
is not removed during the dual exposure. If possible, instantaneous pictures 




should be taken, as time exposures are rather risky, involving danger of shak- 
ing the camera, and the length of exposure may not be the same for both sides 
of the plate. Our engravings were taken with an ordinary four by five 
*' kodak," and the box was an ordinary cigar box cut down to fit, and black- 
ened inside. 





The picture is made iu the following way: A table is provided with a top 
having a portion of it movable at B, The person whose head is to be photo- 
graphed sits in a chair underneath the table. The board is removed to allow 
the person's head to pass above the table. The board is again placed in posi- 
tion on the table, and the closer the person's neck fits the hole in the table the 
better. The camera is arranged with a box, as in the illusion we have just 
described; but in this case the camera is turned so that the two doors, C and D, 
open lip and down instead of sideways. The camera is raised or lowered until 
the crack between the two doors of the box is on a level with the edge of the 
table. The upper door, C, in the box is opened wide, so as to expose to the 
sensitized plate, when the shutter is worked, the head above the table, and all 
of the objects within the range of the lens above the edge of the table. 

ril()r(><!l!AI'lllN(i A lir.MAN IIKAI) lU'ON A 'I'AIJI.K. 




After milking these arrangements an exposure is made, then the person 
whose liead has been photographed is no longer required. The top door, C, 
is now closed, and the bottom door, D, is opened wide. By this means the 
upper part of the plate is ])rotected from a second exposure and leaves the way 
clear to expose the lower, and as yet nnexposed, part of the plate. The shntter 
is again opened, and this time everything in range of the lens below the edge 
of the table is photographed, and, of course, does not show the person nuder 
the table. The illustration which we give, as well as the diagram showing 
how it may be produced, are the work of ^Ir. James Burt Smalley, of Bay 
Citv, Mich. 


We have already shown how a photograph may be made npon a table, and 
we now show how one can easily take pictures of the same person in different 
attitudes on one plate. This trick is performed by Mr. Frank Gilmore, of 
Auburn, R. I. Pictures made in this manner seem extremely puzzling, when in 





reality they are very simple to make. An ordinary extension dining-table is 
used, the person to be ijhotographed being seated in an opening between the 
two ends of tbe table, caused by the removal of a leaf, Tiie tablecloth is then 
arranged so as to cover the gap. If necessary, the table may be built up with 
boards so as to support the cloth and other articles. To make the illusion 
complete, a pan, cut away so that it may be conveniently placed around the 
neck, as shown in our engraving, may be used. This gives the appearance in 
the photograph of being an ordinary platter bearing the head of a living 






On this page we reproduce a curious photograpli by M. Bracq, which 
appeared some time ago in the '' Photo Gazette." 

Despite all the terrible catastrophe Avhich it represents, carrying pictures 
along with him in his fall, the subject has not experienced the least uneasiness, 
not even so much as will certainly be felt by our readers at the sight of the 
tumble represented. 


The mode of operating in this case is very simple, and we are indebted to 
"Za Nature'''' for the description of the method employed by M. Bracq. 
The photographic apparatus being suspended at a few yards from the floor of 
the room, in such a way as to render the ground-glass horizontal (say, between 
the two sides of a double ladder — a combination that permits of easy focusing 
and putting the plates in place), there is spread upon the floor a piece of wall- 

* From " Photographic Amusements," by Walter E. Woodbury. 


paper, about six feet in leugth by five feet in 
width, at tlie bottom of wliieii a waiuscot has 
been dravvu. A ladder, a few pictures, a statu- 
ette, and a bottle are so arranged as to give an 
observer the illusion of the wall of a room — that 
of a dining-room, for instance. A hammer, 
some nails, etc., are j)laced at the proper points. 
Finally a five by two and one-half foot board, 
to wliich a piece of carpet, a cardboard plate, 
etc., have been attached, is jilaced under the foot 
of a chair, which then seems to rest upon this 
false floor at right angles with that of the room. 

Everything being ready, the operator lies 
down quietly in the midst of these objects, as- 
sumes a frightened expression, and waits until the shutter announces to him 
that he may leave his not very painful position. This, evidently, is merely an 
example that our readers will be able to modify and vary at their will. 



Our engraving shows a new type of photographic portrait which gives the 
effect of a marble bust. The model is placed behind a hollow column or thin 
pedestal of painted wood. If it is desired to represent a man in classic cos- 
tume, a helmet of white cardboard is placed upon the model's head, his hair and 
face is whitened with rice powder, and those portions of the body it is desired 
to render visible are surrounded with white flannel. The background should 
be formed of black velvet. After the negative is developed, the figure that it is 
desired to preserve is cut around with a penknife, and the arms and all the 
portions that arc not wanted are scratched out. The glass thus becomes trans- 
parent when the scratching has been done, and in the positive the bust stands 
out from the background. 





The portrait which we reproduce was taken by a photographer of Constan- 
tinople, Mr. Baboudjian. The subject of the photograph is represented a 


■r(i. 3.— DIAGRAM SHOW- 

number of times, so that the whole presents the aspect 
of a number of persons standing in a line. Two mir- 
rors, A and B, are placed parallel to each other, and 
are separated by an interval of about two feet. In 
the narrow corridor thus formed he places the sub- 
ject to be photographed. One of the mirrors must 
1)0 a little taller than the other, and the apparatus is 
turned toward the shorter one and is slightly inclined 
toward the floor. The mirrors are without frames. 
The result of this arrangement is shown in our en- 
graving, the same person being represented a number 
of times. There is considerable ditliculty in lighting 
the subject properly. 




The system of photography which we illustrate gives un excellent opportu- 
nity for a great range in the art of posing; the instrument is called the 
'• multiphotograph." If an image is placed in front of two mirrors inclined 


to each other at an angle of ninety degrees, three images will be produced in 
the mirror; at sixty degrees, five images will be produced; at forty-five degrees, 
seven images; and if the mirrors ai'e parallel, theoi'ctically, an infinite number 

Jiiiii|i!iisiliiiji!f'in;iffiiiilill:,!lll|!iiiiiliiiiiilp |iiil\- . ■A\v;mi',\« 

;: ' M i i l iW [ « iilimnt«| iii iiiiilii|i|i m !ljJi;ill\ • ! , M , \\\\\\\-i ' .«• '■ Blllllii. mSW vn\4V III™ mill l;'L„.,-_ ._ Jii!b_„ -'' --- --*''''■'■ '■■'" ' '"■' '' ra'''-™™ BJllllHI Jll 




of images will result. In the jirocess of the photography whicli we illustrate, 
advantage is taken of this to produce at one exposure a number of different 
views of the same subject. The person to be photographed sits with the back 
to the instrument, while in front of the face are two mirrors set at the desirerl 
angles to each other, the inner edges touching. 

In the case illustrated, these mirrors are inclined at an angle of seventy-two 
degrees; four images are produced. The exposure is made, and on the nega- 
tive appears not only the back view of the subject, but also the four reflected 
images in profile and different three-quarter positions. 

The courses taken by the rays of light are determined by the law that the 
angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. In the diagram the ravs 
of light are traced in their course from the subject to the mirror, and back 
and forth, giving a good idea of the relation of the images to the subject and 
of the five images to the focal plane, the virtual jiosition of the images being 
further from the instrument than the subject proper. We also give an engrav' 
ing showing images of a full-length figure. 




We illustrate in the cut a camera for photography in which the ne plus 
■ultra of simplicity may fairly be said to be attained. It is a little tin box two 
inches in diameter and three-quarters deep from cover to bottom. A hole was 
punched in the center of the cover, and over this a piece of foil was secured 
by varnish. The foil was taken from a button card. Small mother-of-pearl 
buttons are generally mounted on pieces of pasteboard with this foil under 
them. Through the foil, where it extended across the hole in the box cover, a 
hole was made with a No. 10 needle. The needle was pressed through until 


its point could be just felt by the finger held against the opposite side of the foil. 
This made an aperture one-sixtieth inch in diameter. The interior of the box 
was blackened, A piece of Eastman's " A " bromide paper, cut circular so as 
to fit in the box, was placed in it against the bottom, and the cover put on. 
This, of course, was done in the absence of actinic light. Then, with an 
exposure of four minutes, at a distance of about ten feet from the object, the 
negative shown in the sketch was taken. It was developed with oxalate devel- 
oper. Castor oil or vaseline was used to make it transj)arent, so as to adapt it 
for printing from. The sul)ject of the negative was the old armory at Summit 
Hill, Mt. Jefferson, Pa. 

As nothing special, noitlier paper, glass negative, nor developer, was used, 
this process of pinhole photography deserves special mention. It might often 



be of considerable use in emergencies that sometimes will present themselves to 
the photographer. 

The special novelty that presents itself is the use of paper instead of glass 
for the negative, as paper can be cut to fit any size or shape of box. The 
brand of paper employed is slow paper. 


This ingenious apparatus is a French invention. The general appearance 
of the necktie is seen in our second engraving, the first figure showing the 
back of it. The metallic camera is flat and very light, and is hidden under the 


vest. The interior mechanism comprises six small frames which are capable of 
passing in succession before the objective. These frames each hold a sensitized 
plate or film. The necktie liaving been adjusted, the shutter is set by a pull 
upon the button, A, which passes under the vest. In order to change the i)late 
it is necessary to turn from left to right the button, B, which has been intro- 
duced into the buttonhole of the vest and which simulates a button of that 
garment. The frames are attached to a link chain, something like an ordi- 
nary bicycle chain, which is operated by the button. In order to open the 
shutter it is only necessary to press the rubber bulb, which may be placed in the 
pocket. The shutter is tripped pneumatically by means of the bulb and tube. 
In order to change the plates it is only necessary to turn the small springs, 


G G G. The sensitized plates or filnis arc put in the frames, and the springs 
ure turned back to their former position. The lens is, of course, concealed in 
the scarf piu. 


A recent novelty is a cigar or cigarette holder accompanied by a small pack- 
age of photographic paper abont the size of a postage stamp. One of these 
papers is placed in the interior of the holder, before an orifice arranged for the 


purpose. The smoke of the tobacco, coming in contact 'vvith it, develops a 
portrait or other subject. The jsrocess employed is very simple and consists in 
preparing a small photograph on chloride of silver i)aper. The paper can be 
purchased ready prepared. The prints are fixed r\ a bath of sodinm hyposnl- 

phite (eight to ten* per cent.), without hav- 
_ ^rr^' ^r^ ing been toned with gold. They are then 

washed with great care in order to free the 
fibres of the ])aper from every trace of the 
salt, which would cause a yellowing of the 
print after it was finished. Tlie jarint is 
now taken and floated on a five per cent, 
bath of bichloride of mercury. The images 
at first gradually fade and finally disappear 
altogether. After the prints are thoroughly 
bleached, the}^ are Avashed in water and al- 
lowed to dry. In order to make the latent 
image appear, it is only necessary to im- 
merse the print in a weak flve-per-cent. 
DKVKi,oiMN(i THK piTOTo. solutlon of sulpliite or hyposulphite of 



sodium. When the prints ure to be developed photographically, they are 
placed in the cigar holder so that the lateral orifice in the holdei' will admit the 
smoke to the j)riiit. The ammoniacal vapors coutaiued in tobacco smoke pos- 
sess, like sodium hyposulphite, the property of coloring black the chloride of 
mercury contained in the pre])ared paper. 


The device which we illustrate has been very successful in secnring photo- 
graphs which have led to the identification of the perpetrators of petty thefts. 
A cigar dealer of Toledo, Ohio, had for some time lost cigars from his show- 
case, and the detectives were foiled in their attempts to discover tliese thieves, 
so he had recourse to the proprietor of the photographic apparatus shown in 



our engravings. The apparatus was set up and arranged in working order. 
It was then left to do its work. Early one morning two boys entered the 
place, opened the showcase, and, in so doing, set in operation the appa- 
ratus, which made a permanent record of their deed, and upon the evidence 
thus obtained they were sent to prison. As the boys opened the case they 
closed an electric circuit which released the camera shutter, and at the same 
instant operated the flashlight apparatus. Our first engraving shows the pho- 
tograph being taken, and our second shows the mechanism. The side and end 
of the camera are removed so as to show the mechanism. The camera is placed 
in a box which is provided with a shutter operated by the spring seen at the 
front of the box. The shutter is tripped by an electro-magnet. On the top 




of the camera box is arranged another electro-magnet, and a vertical spindle 
carrying at the top a roughened disk; the electro-magnet being connected 
with a detent which engages an arm on the vertical spindle. A match is 
placed in a spring-pressed holder which rests against the roughened disk, and 
above the disc is supported a flashlight. When the circuit is closed by tamper- 
ing with the showcase, the shutter of the camera is opened by the action of the 
magnet connected with the escapement, and the detent magnet at the top of 
tlie box is operated with the shutter. The detent is then released and allows 
the vertical spindle to revolve, the power for the purpose being stored in 
a volute spring connected with the spindle. The match is ignited, and as the 
disk comjiletes its revolution, the match projects through the aperture and 
ignites the flashlight powder. All this occurs in a fraction of a second, and as 
soon as the shutter is opened and closed the image on the sensitive plate is pre- 
vented from being further acted upon. To secure the closing of the shutter, the 
current which lets olf the igniting mechanism is taken through a fusible Avire 
or strip located in the flashlight chamber. When the flashlight powder burns, 
the wire or coil is melted, the circuit is broken, and the shutter is released, so 
as to close automatically. The effectiveness of the apparatus is clearly proved 
by the work it has done. At the same time there seems to be no good reason 
why the burglar could not smash the whole apparatus, thus destroying all 2)ho- 
tographic record of the crime. 


Composite photography consists in the fusion of a certain number of indi- 
vidual portraits into a single one. This is effected by making the objects which 
are to be photographed pass in succession before the photographic apparatus, 
giving each of them a fraction of the long exposure, equal to such exposure 
expressed in seconds and divided by the number of the objects which are to be 
photographed. Composite photography is interesting when applied to photo- 
graphs of persons. Theoretically this is what occurs : Features peculiar to each 
of the portraits, not having been sufficiently exposed, do not take; and the 
features common to all. having been given a proper exposure, alone leave a visi- 
ble trace along the sensitized plate. Therefore, the result obtained may be 
considered as the type of the race or the family, but, of course, is only of 
limited value. Our engraving shows twelve portraits, six men and six women, 
some of whom are quite young and some middle-aged, as may be readily seen. 
An exposure was made in succession of No. 1 to No. 13, that is to say, begin- 
ning with the youngest woman and ending with the oldest man; and then from 
No. 13 to No. 1, that is to say, in inverse order. A man and a woman were 
interposed, and the experiment was renewed, preserving the same arrangement, 
but changing the order of the subjects. The result remained constantly tiie 
same, as may be readily seen by glancing at the four composites, A, B, C, and 


D, of tlie engraviiiij. Upon one side the type of six men (composite E) was 
made, and on the other, of six women (composite F). Here the change prodnced 
is very percejitible. It is always the same liead; but while before we had a being 
of indeterminate sex, we find here, with perfect distinctness, a man on one side 
and a woman on the other. The experimenter wished to see whether twelve 
other persons (six men and six women), taken from the same population, 
would give a type analogous to the first. As may l)e seen (composite G), there 
is a slight difference, but the character of the head is the same, the difference 
existing especially in the physiognomy. The same remark may be made as to 
the composite H obtained from the six women of the preceding group joined 
with the six women figured Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, G, which alone gave the composite 
F. This observation proves (what was to be foreseen) tliat the more the num- 
ber of subjects for each experiment is increased, the greater will be the prob- 
ability of obtaining the true type of the population studied. On the contrary, 
when but three are taken, a great risk will be run of generalizing too much. 
In this case, moreover, each exposure is necessarily too long, since it consists of 
a tliird of the normal exposure and is no longer the resultant of the three 
heads, but their superposition. Hence the slightest increase in the length of 
one of the three exposures assumes considerable importance. 




Instantaneous photography has been of tlie greatest possible nse to science, 
especially that branch of it which has been termed '' chronophotography. " It 
is to the investigations of Mr. Muybridge and M. Marey that we are indebted 
for the most valuable researches on the subject. Chronophotography consists 
in taking a number of photographs of any object at short and regular inter- 
vals of time. This is accomplished in many ways, and results obtained are 
useful for many purposes. The graphic method has been of great service in 
almost every branch of science, and laborious statistics obtained by computation 
have been replaced by diagrams in which the variation of a curve expresses in 
the most striking manner the various phases of some patiently observed phe- 
nomena. Furthermore, by the methods of modern science, a recording 
apparatus has been devised which, Avorking automatically, traces the curves of 
such physical or physiological events which, by reason of their slowness, fee- 
bleness, or their speed, would otlierwise be inaccessible to observation. The 
development of these methods of analyzing movement by photography have 
enabled the researches of physiological laboratories to become of the greatest 
possible value. The matter in this chapter is very largely an abstract of M. 
Marey 's researches, which were originally published in " La Nature,'''' and 
their publication in the "Scientific American Supplement" extended over 
a period of several years. Subsequent to this publication M. Marey wrote a 
book called " Le Mouvement,'''' which has been translated by Mr. Eric Pritch- 
ard under the title of ''Movement." It is published in the International 
Scientific Series; and for a more extensive and scientific treatment of the sub- 
ject than we are able to give here, we refer our readers to this excellent work. 
M. ]\Iarey describes the rudiments of chronography by supposing we take a 
strip of paper which is made to travel by clockwork at a uniform rate. A pen 
affixed above the paper nuirks, as it rises and falls alternately, the various 
periods and intervals. When the pen comes in contact with the paper it leaves 
a record in the form of dashes of different lengths at varying intervals. If 
the dashes should be equidistant it shows that the periods of contact follow 
one anotlicr at e(|ual intervals of time. Now, as it is known that the speed at 
wliich the paper travels is so many inches or feet per second, it is an easy 
matter to obtain an accurate measurement of the duration of contact and of 
the intervals between, In brief; this is the principle of chronography. Chrono- 



photography is simply an amplification of this system and has many advan- 
tages, rendering measurements possible where the moving body is inaccessible. 
In uther words, there need be no material limit between the visible point and 
the sensitized plate. 

Mr, Muybridge's experiments on the gaits of the horse are famous. He used 
a battery of cameras as shown in our first engraving. Some of the results 
obtained are shown in Fig. 2. 



On the left is the reflecting screen against which the animal appeared en silhouette. On the 
right is the series of photographic apparatus, of which each one took an image. 

In Mr. Muybridge's arrangement, photographic instruments faced a white 
screen before which passed an animal walking, trotting, or galloping. As fast 
as the animal advanced, the shutters of the lenses opened and permitted the 
taking of negatives of the animal. These were, of course, different from 
each other, because they were taken in succession. They therefore showed 
the animal in the various attitudes he assumed at different instants during his 
passage across the field covered by the instruments. The dazzling white light 














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brought out en silhouette the body of the animal. Eacli shutter is actuated by 
a powerful spring; the shutter is opened as the animal advances. Threads may 
be observed across the road; the animal, breaking these threads one after the 
other, opens the shutters. Mr. Muybridge varied his experiments most suc- 
cessfully. He studied the gaits of different animals, and those of men in jump- 
ing, vaulting, and in the handling of various utensils. But since this time the 



The ajjpaiatus is open and show.s the position of tiie disk, with its opeuiugs moving in I runt 

of the plate. 




progress of photographic chemistry has wonderfully increased the sensibility 
of the plates, and at the present day more than mere silhouettes of moving 
animals and men can be obtained. In a good light full images Avith all 
desired relief can be obtained. For example, if an athlete in motion is photo- 
graphed, all of the muscles of the body are perfectly traced in relief, indicat- 
ing the parts taken by each of them in the movement executed. The methods 


used by Mr. Muybridge would always suffice to illustrate the successive phases 
of the displacement of the members if they were taken at equal intervals of 
time, but the arrangements adapted for bringing about the formation of tlie 
successive phases cause irregularity in the extent of these intervals. The 
threads give more or less before breaking; moreover, the progress of the horse 
is not at an even rate of speed. Nevertheless, Mr. Muybridge endeavored to 
develop from a series of images the trajectory of each leg of a horse, but the 
curves obtained in these laborious attempts had not sufficient precision. A 
very simple method enables us to obtain, with perfect fidelity, the trajectory 
of a body in movement; it is the photographing of this body in front of a 
black surface. If the photographic apparatus is directed against a black 
screen, the objective can be uncovered without effect on a sensitized plate, as 


it will receive no light; but if a white bull strongly ilhuninated by the sun if? 
thrown across the j)lane of this screen, and parallel with it, its image will be 
reproduced upon the plate, which will show the track of the ball in its trajec- 
tory, just as the eye receives a momentary impression of lines of fire when a 
lighted piece of charcoal is waved through the air at night. 


Fig. 3 shows the iiarabolic trajectory of a brilliant ball thrown across the 
face of a dark screen; but it is discontinuous, as exposures were only produced 
each fiftieth of a second on account of the number of the openings and the 
speed of the rotation of the disk. This is only an example which shows the 
almost limitless number of varieties of movement which may be analyzed by 

With ordinary shuttei's it would l)e difficult to ol)t;iiu this quickness, but 
the perforated disk which is used in chronophotograpliy gradually ac<]uires a 
speed of rotation that may be very great. Fig. 4 shows the arrangement of 
this disk by which a rotary movement is imparted by a powerful gearing con- 
trolled by a regulator. As soon as the disk obtains a speed of ten turns a 
second, the regulator maintains this speed with perfect uniformity. The disk 
moves in front of the sensitized plate a few millime'ters only; then, knowing 



tlie uiigiilcir value of each of the openings, the period of exposure is easilv 
deduced therefrom. 

The condition most difficult of fullilhnent is the absohite darkness of the 
screen before which the phototrraphs are taken. Little light as there is, the 


screen might reflect npon this sensitized plate, during a single exposure, small 
quantities of light, which would tend to f(jg the ])Iate. A wall painted with 
any black jiigment, or even covered Avith black velvet, exposed to the sun, 
reflects too much liglit for a plate to withstand. The term '"black screen" 
is used in a metaphorical sense. In reality the work is done before a dark* 
cavity, being in truth what is known as '" ChevreuTs black." To obtain these 
favorable conditions, a chamber nearly thirty-three feet deep and of equal 
breadth was constructed; one face of this chamber was open, and restricted by 
movable frames to the exact height necessary. The interior of the chamber was 
completely blackened, the ground was coated with pitch, and the back hung 
with black velvet. 



Before entering into a detail of the experiments, we shall point out the gen- 
eral arrangement of the Physiological Station of Paris. Fig. 5 gives a general 
view of the grounds and buildings. 

On these grounds, which were laid out by the city of Paris as a nursery, 
there is a circular road, thirteen feet wide, designed for the exercise of horses, 
and, outside of this, a footpath for men. All around this road there runs a 
telegraph line whose poles are spaced 164 feet apart. Every time that a person 
walks in front of a pole a telegraphic signal is given, and this is inscribed in 
one of the rooms of the principal building. Further on we shall speak of this 
sort of automatic inscription, by means of which we ascertain at every instant 
the sjoeed of the walker, the variations therein, and even the frequency of his 
steps. In the center of the track there is a high post that carries a mechanical 
drum which regulates the rhythm of the gait, and which is actuated by a spe- 
cial telegraph line running from one of the rooms in the large building, wherein 
the rhytlim is regulated by a mechanical interrupter. 

From the center of the circle, likewise, there starts a small railway upon 
which runs a car that forms a photographic cliamber, from the interior of 
which is taken a series of instantaneous images of the horses or men whose 
gait we desire to analyze. 

Fig. G represents the photographic chamber in which the experimenter 
places himself. This chamber is mounted upon wheels, and runs upon a rail- 
way in such a way tliat it can approach or move away from the screen accord- 
ing to the objectives that are being used and to the size of the images that it is 
desired to obtain. As a general thing, it is advantageous to place the photo- 
graphic apparatus quite far from the screen, say about 1G4 feet. From this 
distance the angle at which the subject whose imago is being taken does not 
change much during tlic time it takes to pass before the black screen. From 
the exterior of this chamber are seen the red windows through which the 



operator can follow the different motions that he is stud}ing. To have the 
different acts performed he gives his orders through a speaking trumpet. 'J'he 
front of tlie chamber is removed in Fig. 6 in order to show a revolving disk 
provided with a small window through which the liglit enters the photo- 
graphic objective intermittently. This disk is of large dimensions (four and 
three-quarters feet in diameter), and the window in it represents only one 
hundredth of its circumference. It follows from this that if the disk makes 
ten revolutions per second, the duration of lighting will be but one thovsandlh 
of a second. Motion is communicated to the disk by a train of wheels which 
is wound up with a winch and which is actuated by a weight of one hundred and 
fifty kilograms placed behind the chamber. The motion of the disk is arrested 
by a brake, and a bell maneuvered from the interior serves to give orders to 
an aid either to set the disk in operation or to stop it. 

Fig. 7 shows the inner arrangement of the chamber, a portion of one of 
the sides being removed to show the photographic apparatus. A, placed npon a 
bracket before the screen. This apparatus receives long and Jiarrow sensitized 
plates that exactly hold an entire image of the screen. At B is the revolving 
disk which produces the intermittent illuminations, and at D is a cut-off which 
is raised vertically at the beginning of the experiment, and Avhich is allowed to 
fall at the end so as to allow light to enter only during the time that is strictly 
necessary. E is a wide slit in front of the objective, for allowing the latter to 
take in the field in which are occurring the motions that are being studied. 

The darkness that reigns in the rolling chamber permits of manipulating 
the sensitized plates therein at ease, and of changing them at every new experi- 

Against the dark field just described, a man placed in full light, naked, or 
clothed in white, gives a sharp image on the sensitized plate. The results in 
running and jumping which are obtained by this means are very satisfactory. 
For scientific purposes it is found that the results are better if, instead of 




The axes of tbe limbs are traced by white cords ; the joints carry white buttons placed at 
the point of rotation. The head is covered by a helmet ot black velvet which com- 
pletely hides it, and to which is affixed a bright ball at the level of the ear. 

white clothing, the runner is clothed in black velvet. By this means lie 
becomes nearly invisible before the black area. If white cords are attached to 
this costume, following the direction of the axes of his limbs, and white buttons 
used for the principal articulations, the white parts are reproduced and re- 
obtained on the sensitized plate in an almost unlimited number of positions. 


Below the figure is a scale whose divisions are 0.50 meter (19,^,, inches) long, and serve to 
give the extent of tlie movements. 




v\u. i:{.^oscn.i>ATioxs of the leg of a wat.kixg max. 

Usiug a disk pierced with five holes, which gives tweuty-five images per sec- 
ond, the result shown in Fig. 12, which shows in full detail the movements of 
the left half of the body, head, arm, and leg. was obtained by this method for 
the action of running. Every fifth image is a little stronger than the others. 
This is effected by making one of the apertures in the disk larger than the 
others. The time of exposure is thus increased, and the intensity of the image 


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is greater. The object of this disposition is to furnish base marks, by means 
of which it is always easy to recognize traces corresponding to the same image, 
that is to say, to a given attitude of the runner. For detailed studies a part of 
the image is screened, as shown in Fig. 13. These diagrams are very Avell 
adapted for the comparison of two sorts of movements whose difference cannot 
be discerned by the eye. Thus, in jumping from an elevation the shock 


caused by the feet striking the ground is reduced in intensity by bending 
the legs, while the extensor muscles operate to sustain the weight of the 
falling body. Our next two engravings show two kinds of jumps: the first, 
the flexure of the legs and the reduction of the shock; the second, with 
tlie leg almost straight, which implies a severe shock by the feet striking the 

The practical applications of chronophotography are soon seen. Just as 
machines are driven so as to obtain a useful effect at tlic smallest expenditure 
of power, so a man can govern his movements so as to produce the wished-for 
effects with the least waste of energy, and, consequently, with the least possible 
fatigue. Of two gaits which can carry us over a definite space in a given time, 
the one should be preferred which costs the least possible fatigue. Chrouopho- 



tography furnishes the missing elements of the problem, giving exactly the 
velocity of the difEerent parts of the body, by the balancing of which we can 
determine the masses in movement. From a long series of comparisons, impor- 
tant conclusions can be drawn, as, for example, the following : in walking, the 
most favorable gait is one where step succeeds step at the rate of about one 
hundred and twenty a minute; for running, the step should be nearly two hun- 
dred and forty a minute. Fewer or more numerous steps will give less ellect 
at a greater expenditure of the work. The applications are therefore obvious; 


they enable us to fix the rate of steps of soldiers to economize as much as pos- 
sible their strength in the severe trials to which they are subjected. These 
studies have been followed out at great length, under varying conditions, using 
a considerable number of subjects; and the results, while not final, have shown 
that the true method has been found. Experiments have confirmed that 
which the laws of mechanics could not foretell when the dynamic conditions 
of the work of man were incompletely knoAvn. 

M. Marey's studies of the legs of the horse are particularly interesting. 
We give one engraving showing the oscillation of the fore leg of a horse in a 

The analysis of the flight of birds presents special difficulty. Owing to 
the extreme rapidity of the movements of the wings, an extremely short ex- 
posure is required. The direction, often capricious, of the flight of the bird, 
and the length of the j^ath which must be followed, to include on the sensi- 
tized plate sufficiently sharp images, add to the difficulty. Several repetitions 
of the same experiment are generally required before success. 

The photographic gun is particularly valuable for taking photographs of 
birds. Our engravings show the mechanism of the photographic gun and the 
method of usiuff it. 


We present a photograph of a gull taken during its flight and an enlarge- 
ment of the same. 

The photographic gun will be understood by reference to the engraving, 
and is fully described in the "Scientific American Supplement," No. 386, to 
which the reader is referred. 

We also give photographs of a ])igeon rising in flight and the successive 
attitudes of a gull. 

Space forbids ns to more than state that the analysis of the flight of birds 
is a most interesting and important subject, and the results obtained by chro- 
nophotography are most gratifying. 


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The analysis of locomotion in water is one of the most interesting develop- 
ments of chronophotography. In order to study locomotion in water it was 
necessary to modify the method. The animals experimented with swam in a 
glass-sided aquarium fitted in an aperture in a wall, as shown in our engrav- 
ing. The aquarium was directly illuminated by the light of the horizon, form- 
ing a very clear field upon which the animals were outlined as silhouettes. 
Sometimes the external glass of the aquarium was covered by letting down an 
opaque shutter; then, upon opening another shutter, placed above the water, 
the brightly illuminated animals were seen standing out from the black field. 





The successive images correspond to less and less advanced phases of the wingr's revolution. 

Ill most cases it was found necessary to ojierate before tlie luminous ground, so 
it was not j^ossible to receive several successive images upon a removable plate, 
but it was necessary to cause the sensitized surface to move by starts, so as to 
bring before the objective points which were always new for each new image 
that is to be formed. A flexible gelatino-bromide-of -silver film was used. 
The film was cut into a long and narroAV strip which in the camera passed along 
at the focus of the objective, and unwound from a supply bobbin, and wound 
around a receiving one. 

The objective turned toward the right has a slit in the center for the })as- 
sage of the diaphragm which, in revolving, allows the light to pass intermit- 
tingly. When the small diaphragm makes one revolution the large one makes 
five revolutions, and it is then only that the apertures meet and the light 
passes. The bellows behind the objective allows the light to reach the sensi- 
tized film. The box is, of course, tightly closed. The focusing is done by 
means of a small telescope or spy glass. It is necessary at each new experiment 
to use a new band of film, and the substitution of rolls of films is effected in 
the light by means of bobbins upon which the film is rolled. 


Jo this series of images, traced from the originals, the distances representing the positions of 
the bird in space are exaggerated to avoid confusion. 


At the extremity of each baud of film are glued paper bauds of the same 
width. Oue of these prolougations is red and the other is blaclc. Each of 
them is about tweuty iuches in length. Having the two colors makes it almost 
impossible to reexpose a film, as one is not liable to confouud a bobbin which 
has been used with oue that has not, the color of the roll beiug different. 
Special devices are employed iu the camera to render the film immovable for 
an instant while it receives the impression from the object. Arrangements 


are also provided for obtuiuiug a uuiforui velocity. 'Vhe u,se of tlie apparatus 
which we have just described peruiitted of seeing with what a variety of means 
of locomotion the various kinds of aquatic auinuds — fishes, mollusks, crus- 
taceans, etc. — propel themselves. The motion of the medusa is particularly 
interesting, ami the phases of the movement of the uml)r(!lhi are shown in Fig. 
30. The ])ropulsion of this mollusk is effected through the alternate contrac- 
tion and dilation of its umbrella. Ten images per second were sufficient to 
obtain a pretty complete series of the ])hases of this motion. These images 
gain much by being examined in the zoetrope, wherein they reproduce with 
absolute perfection the aspect of the auimal iu motion. 




The hippocampus, which is otherwise known as the "sea-horse," affords 
another interesting example of aquatic locomotion. The principal propeller of 
this animal is a dorsal fin which vibrates with such rapidity that it is almost 
invisible, and has an appearance analogous to that of the branches of a tuning 
fork in motion. With twenty images per second it is seen that this vibration 
is undulatory. "We have before us the successive deviations of the lower, mid- 
dle, and upper rays of the film. In the present case the undulation takes 
place from the bottom upwards. 


The comatula is habitually fixed to the Ijottoni of the arjuuriuni, just as a 
jtlant is fixed to the earth by its roots. It therefore m;ikos nothing but vague 
motions of the arm, which it rolls up aiul unrolls; })ut if the animal be excited 
by the means of a rod, it will be observed to begin a strange motion which 
carries it quite a distance. In this kind of locomotion the ten arms move alter- 
nately; five of them rise and keep tightly pressed against the calyx, and the 
other five descend and separate from it. Upon the arms that rise, the cirri 
are invisible, anil while upon those that descend, they diverge in order to 
obtain a purchase upon the water. These motions of the cirri seem passive, 
like those of a valve that obeys the thrust of a liquid. 


M. Mareysays: "I have obtained images of a certain number of other 
aquatic species, the swimming of the eel, the skate, etc. These types of loco-, 
motion ought to be studied methodically, compared with each other, and consid- 
ered in their relations with the conformation of the different species. It will, 
I hope, be a new element for the interpretation of the laws of animal morphol- 
ogy, which are very obscure." 

M. Marey has also investigated the flight of insects by means of clirouo- 
photography. These experiments are most delicate and interesting, and the 
results obtained go a long way towards making up a satisfactory theory of insect 
life. M. Marey says that the wing in its to-and-fro movements is bent in vari- 
ous directions by the resistance of the air. Its action is always that of an 


inclined plane striking against the fluid, and utilizing that part of the resist- 
ance which is favorable to its onward progression. This mechanism is the 
same as tliat of a waterman's scull (reference of course being to " sea sculling " 
and not to "river sculling"), which, as it moves backward and forward, is 
obliquely inclined in opposite directions, each time communicating an impulse 
to the boat. There is, however, a difference between these two methods of 
propulsion. The scull used by the waterman offers a rigid resistance to the 
water, and the operator has to impart alternate rotary movements to the scull by 
his hand — at the same time taking care that the scull strikes the water at a 
favorable slant. The mechanism in the case of the insect's wing is far simpler. 
The flexible membrane which constitutes the anterior part of the wing presents 
a rigid border which enables the wing to incline itself* at the most favorable 
angle. The muscles only maintain a to-and-fro movement. The resistance to 
the air does the rest, namely, effects those changes in surface obliquity which 



determine the formation of an 8-shaped trajectory by the extremity of the 

M. Marey states tliat he succeeded in obtaining a photograph of the gilded 
wing of an insect, which, tliough not absolutely at liberty, could fly at a com- 
paratively high rate of speed. The photographs of the trajectory of the wing 
of an insect are very interesting. A wooden box was lined throughout with 
black velvet. The bottom of the box, a simple disk supported by a foot piece, 
was placed in position; the periphery of the space was covered with a white 
material, leaving between it and the central disk an annular track covered with 
black velvet. It was around this annular track the insect was ma^e to fly. A 
needle stuck in the middle of the disk served as an axis for a revolving beam 
and its counterbalance. This beam consisted of a straw, and at the end of it 
was fixed a light pair of forceps to hold the insect. The dragon fly commenced 
flying around the track at a very rapid rate, drawing the straw after it. The 
gold spangles passing through his wings described a trajectory which was easily 


The chronophotography of insects by the use of a moving film has been 
also accomplished by means of very ingenious apparatus. In some cases the 
insects were held in forceps, and in other cases they were allowed free flight in 
a cardboard box. 

"Comparative locomotion," which is rendered possible by chronophotog- 
raphy, might almost be called a new science. It is, at any rate, an important 
adjunct to the studies of the zoologist. The researches of M. Marey upon the 
different terrestrial mammals, birds, tortoises, lizards, frogs, toads, tadpoles, 
snails, eels, fish, insects, and arachnids are of the greatest possible value and 
interest. The applications of chronophotography to experimental physiology 
are numerous. It supplements the information obtained by the graphic meth- 
ods. It has rendered possible the photography of the successive phases of car- 
diac action in a tortoise under condition of artificial circulation. The mechan- 
ism of cardiac pulsation has also been studied by its means, as well as the 
determination of the centers of movements in joints. 

It has been found that chronophotography could be ajiplied not only to 



' r\ 

iijs^tea ac«! 



objects of considerable size, but to those of microscopic size as well. Special 
arrangements of apparatus are necessary for this purpose. By its means the 
retraction of the spiral stalks in vorticellae, the movement of the blood in 
capillary vessels, and the movements of the zoospores in the cells of conferva 
have been determined. 

The great value of chronophotography is nn questionable for use in every 
case where the body whose rapid changes of jiosition or form we wish to know 
is inaccessible to us, or its movements cannot be mechanically traced. 


■J,- I I i fc i 

FIO. 2H. 



Chronophotography has beeu used in J'rauce for studies touching the mili- 
tary art, being employed for registering the firing of projectiles having a rela- 
tively slow motion, such as the explosion of stationary torpedoes, the recoil of 
guns, the motion of automobile torj)edoes, etc. Special arrangements are pro- 
vided to permit of electrically controlling the phenomenon to be photographed. 
The apparatus is described in detail in the " Scientific American Supplement," 
No. 743. 

We present a diagram showing the results obtained by photographing the 
firing of torpedoes. Although the velocity of these projectiles is not very great, 
about sixty feet per second, it is yet very difficult for the eye to take exact 
account of what is occurring during the launching. As the net cost of a tor- 
pedo is considerable, it is essential that the conditions which influence the regu- 
larity of its submarine flight shall be known with precision. If it inclines in 
front more or less in plunging, the regularity of its running will be put to 
hazard; if, on the contrary, it falls flat upon the water, the results will be 
very different. Our engraving shows the torpedo starting from the tube and 
traversing the different panels in the field of firing. In the first half the 
torpedo, gradually inclining, falls point foremost; it has been badly fired. In 
the second series, on the contrary, the torpedo is maintaining itself horizon- 
tally, and, in a manner, moving always parallel with itself. Under such cir- 
cumstances it falls flat and starts off normally and regularly to the object to be 
reached. This shows the great utility of chronophotography. 


The experiments which Ave have been describing necessitate apparatus of 
the most expensive kind, and they are unadapted for the use of the amateur. 
The apparatus of M. Georges Denieny, which we illustrate, is, however, very 
simple. The reader needs to be reminded that there are three types of chro- 
nophotographic machinery in use, in two of which a single objective, with a 
disk shutter revolving at great speed, is employed. In one the object shifts, 
and gives several images from an immovable plate, while in the other the 
object is stationary, and the movable sensitized surface gives well-separated 
images. The third metliod, which is the least interesting, consists in taking 
as many objectives and plates as it is desired to have images, and in freeing the 
shutters of each objective, one after the other. The most scientific solution of 
the problem is that which permits of obtaining upon a baud of film, and with 
a single objective, a succession of well-separated images whose number depends 
only upon the length of the band employed. The difficulty in using a sensi- 
tized band consists in arresting it for tlie very brief instant in which each 
image impresses the plate. The Demeny apparatus which we are about to 
describe is very simple. A wooden box having about the dimetisions of an 
ordinary seven by nine inch apparatus is provided with an objective of wide 


FIG. 1.— amateur's chronopiiotoguaphic apparatus. 

aperture, of which only the center is utilized. Back of this objective, and as 
near as possible to the sensitized surface, the disk shutter is revolved by means 
of a crank. Up to this point there is really nothing new in the apparatus; 
but the principal improvement consists in the unwinding and arrest of the 
sensitized film. Number 1 of our first engraving represents the principle of 
the system. Two disks, R and P, are each mounted upon an axis passing 
through their centers; bobbins that carry the films are fixed, one of them at 
R, upon a spindle mounted in the axis of rotation of the disk, and the other at 
P, upon a spindle mounted eccentrically to such axis. It is this eccentric 
position that chiefly constitutes the invention. Let us suppose that the two 
bobbins are in place, as shown in cut. The film wound upon A, having one 
of its extremities attached at B, follows the course, C, S, during which it 
passes behind the objective; the two bobbins cannot have any jsroper motion 
in consequence of the method of fixing which is adopted; they and the 
disks, R and P, that support them, become interdependent. Because the 
disk, P, revolves, the film coming from A will wind around B; but, in 
consequence of the eccentric position of this bobbin upon the disk, traction 
will cease to occur for a very brief instant at the moment at which the bob- 
bin, B, approaches A as closely as possible, Despite this, as the winding 




always proceeds to a degree proportional to the unwinding, the film remains 
perfectly taut. It is at this moment that the window, H, of the disk, L, un- 
covers the objective for an instant. It will be understood that the crank, M, 
sets the disk in motion, and it is this, through a mechanism of gears, that con- 
trols the operation of the bobbins. There is, therefore, an exact mathemati- 
cal coincidence between the arrest of the film and the passage of the window, 
and this is essential for the sharpness of the image. This would not always 
occur if a friction device was depended upon for the rest of the film, for in this 
case a sliding might occur which would produce a blurring of the image. 
The solution offered by the Demeney apparatus is,, therefore, the simplest and 
one of the surest known. The simplification of the mechanism has per- 
mitted of constructing an ajiparatus light enough to allow of operating without 
a tripod, by holding it in the arms, as shown in our second engraving. Each 
film terminates in a strip of black paper glued to it, and forms a complete 
covering after the winding upon the bobbin. This arrangement protects the 
sensitized j^art from the light, and permits of changing the bobbin in daylight. 
Twenty of them can be stored in the spaces in the box left by the mechanism, 
so that one may always have a large supply on hand. 




The " kinetograph," which is the precursor of the apparatus for showing 
moving photographs, is of great interest. The kinetograph as first proposed 
consisted of a clever combination of a photographic camera and the pliono- 
graph, by wliich the words of a speech or phxy were to be recorded simultaneously 
with photographic impressions of all the movements of the speakers or actors. 
The photographic impression is taken at the rate of forty-six per second. The 
celluloid film upon which the photograjihic impressions are taken is perforated 
along one edge with a series of holes, arranged at regular intervals with as 
much precision as can be secured by means of the finest perforating mechan- 
ism, to secure perfect registry. This was found necessary because the phono- 
graphic cylinder must be in exact synchronism with the shutter-operating and 
film-moving devices of tlie camera. The 2)honograph and camera mechan- 
isms are driven by the same motor and controlled by the same regulating 
mechanism. The greatest difficulty was experienced in devising mechanism 
for the stopping and starting of tiie film. It was found that the stopj^ing and 
starting of the film forty-six times a second required about two-thirds of the 
time, the remainder being utilized for the exposure of the plate. To take these 
pictures special camera lenses of large aperture had to be constructed. The 
reproducing apparatus is practically a reversal of the camera; that is, a superior 
form of projecting lantern is employed which is provided with a strong light, 
and mechanism for moving forward the strip with an intermittent motion, 
corresiionding exactly to the motion of the negative strip in the camera. Tiie 
lantern is furnished with a light interrupter which eclipses the light during the 


<f;^ <;f^ ^^ 4r^ 4^%-. 46^4 4f, 




brief period required for shifting the film forward to a new position to show 
the succeeding picture. The apparatus was largely manufactured on a small 
scale, without the phonograph, for use in railway stations, cigar stores, etc. 
It was found to be almost im2)ossible to combine the two instruments. In 
this case the pictures were not projected upon the screen, but were upon a 
ground-glass plate which the observer looks at. 


Up to the time of the invention of this theater, the apparatus that pro- 
duced the synthesis of the successive phases of an action were limited to repro- 
duction upon a very small scale, which can only be enjoyed by a limited grouj). 
The object of the optical theater was to provide an apjiaratus for the repro- 
duction of a series of actions upon a considerable scale. The continuity of 
the image obtained by the praxinoscope, invented in 1877 by M. Eeynaud, 
had not up to this time been realized by any projecting apparatus. The 
effect is produced by using a crystalloid band upon which the images are 
painted as represented at A in our engraving. The operator can revolve it in 
one direction or the other by means of two reels. The images pass before the 
lantern, B, and are projected by the aid of the objective, C, upon an inclined 
mirror, M, which projects them upon the transparent screen, E. Another 
projection lantern, B, causes the appearance on the screen of the scene, amid 
which appear the characters, which change their posture according as the 
painted band. A, is revolved by the operator. 


The apparatus which we are about to describe is an important link in the 
history of the synthesis of animated motion. The apparatus is the invention 
of Ottamar Anschuetz, of Lissa, Prussia. A special camera was used, 
adapted to take a number of photographs in quick succession. The instru- 
ment for displaying the pictui'es is called the "electrical tachyscope." It 
consists of an iron wheel of sufficient diameter to hold an entire series of posi- 
tive prints on the periphery. The wheel is arranged upon a rigid standard, 
and provided with a series of jiins which register exactly with the picture. 
Upon the standard behind the wheel is located a box containing a spiral Geiss- 
ler tube which is connected with the terminals of a Ruhmkorff coil. The 
primary coil is provided with a contact maker and breaker adapted to be oper- 
ated by the pins projecting from the wheel, so that every time a picture comes 
before the Geissler tube it is illuminated by an electrical discharge through the 



tube. This discbarge, being instautaueous, shows each picture iu an appar- 
ently fixed position. These pictures succeed each other so rapidly that the 
retinal image of one picture is retained until the next is superimposed upon 
it, thereby giving to the observer the sense of a continuous image in constant 


The cbronophotographic apparatus which we illustrate was invented by 
M. G. Denieny, wlio is the assistant of Dr. Marey, whose work in chronophoto- 
graphy we have already described. As long ago as 1891, M. Demeny was able 
to project upon a screen figui'es which simulated the motion of animal life. 

Strips of sensitized films from sixty to ninety feet in length were not availa- 
ble at this time, aud it was necessary to employ some makeshift. Images were 
taken from the chronophotographic aj^paratus upon a strip four or five yards 
in length, and were printed as positives upon a glass disk sensitized by chloride 
of silver, and it was by means of this disk that the projection was made. The 


1. Arranged for use without electricity or gas. 
3. Arraiigomeut for stopping the strip of filua. 



number of images was limited to forty or fifty, according to the subject, but 
the advent of the long strips of sensitized film induced the inventor to so 
modify tlie apparatus as to be able to take images in long series and for project- 
ing them. The apparatus of M. Demeny, which we show in our engraving, 
employs strips of any length, but at present the longest that have been used 
are one hundred and fifteen feet. This gives about one thousand images of 
the dimensions adopted by the inventor, one and one half hy one and three 
quarter inches. This wide surface of the image has an immense advantage, 
since, with the electric light, it permits of throwing the moving pictures on a 
screen sixteen feet high. 

For a small screen the oxyhydrogen light will be sufficient. The lantern is 
provided with an ordinary condenser, in front of which is placed a water tank 
to absorb a portion of the heat. At the opjiosite end of the table stands the 
chronophotographic projector Avhich carries the film wound around its 1)ob- 
bins. The lantern is so regulated that the luminous rays will fall exactly upon 
the aperture as the image passes behind the o1)joctive, 0. 

After the focusing has been effected, all that has to be done is to turn the 
crank, M. At P and R are seen guide bolibins that serve to put in their nor- 
mal direction the films that have been used. As is well knoAvn, the principle 
of all projecting apparatus of this kind consists of arresting the film for an 



instant at the moment it is uncovered by the shutter. The process employed 
in the Demeuy apparatus is very simple. It is shown in Fig. 3 of our engrav- 
ing. Upon coming from the bobbin the film passes over a guide roller, S, and 
then over a rod, D, mounted eccentrically; thence it goes to the toothed 
roller, C, designed for causing the images to register accurately. The film 
then reaches the magazine roller, B. The mechanism is entirely enclosed in a 
box, and the shutter disk, which is not shown in the engraving, is situated at 
the other side of the aperture, F. Beneath the bobbin. A, is a rubber roller, 
E, mounted upon a spring in such a way that it will bear against the film, 
whatever be the thickness of the ribbon on the bobbin. It is tliis roller which 
is moved by gearing that causes the film to unij'iud in a continuous manner, 
and thus prepares it for the eccentric rod, D, which pulls upon a portion of 
the film already unwound, but does not screen it. The film passing under the 
guide, S, passes between two velvet-lined frames, H and T, that are provided 
with an aperture F. It is upon making its exit thence, and passing over the 
guide, S, that the film is taken up by the rod, D, then runs over the toothed 
roller, C, and finally over the bobbin, B. All these parts, exclusive of the 
shutter, are interdej^endent, and are connected by gear wheels set in motion by 
the crank, ]\r. Xone of them have a jerky motion. All of the parts of the 
mechanism have uniform rotary motion, and the stopjiage of the films is pre- 
pared for by a graduated diminution of the velocity. One advantage of this 
apparatus is that it is very tender with the films. Our last engraving repre- 
sents a few images on a strip made for a spectacular drama at the Chatelet 
Theater, Paris. This strip is one hundred and fifteen feet long, and embraces 
a thousand images, each of which was colored by hand. The effect is very 


Since the time the " kinetoscope " brought the art of moving jihotography 
prominently into notice, many inventors have been striving to perfect ap- 
paratus for successfully projecting these miniature pictures upon the screen 
by means of a stereopticon, producing the same effect of motion as in the 
kinetoscope. In the kinetoscope the successive images are illuminated by 
reflected light, and are seen through a lens enlarging them considerably, say 
from half an inch in diameter to about four inches. The problem of the 
kinetoscope stereopticon was to successfully project these little images several 
thousand times, and secure sufficient illumination upon the screen to make 
them aj^jiear distinct and clear. The two factors which aided in solving the 
problem were the use of the electric lamp as an illuminant and of continuous 
flexible transparent celluloid films. Our first engraving shows some kineto- 
scopic pictures taken directly from the negative film, by the "phantoscope " 
invented by Mr. C. F. Jenkins. The successive motions of practicing " putting 



the sliot," shown in these fifteen iiictures, may l)e traced by beginning at 
tlie lower left-hand corner and reading upward for each column of pictures. 
The device for taking tlie phantoscope pictures is shown in Figures 5 
and 0. 

On a sliaft is fixed a disk sujiporting four lenses, and geared to the shaft is 
a vertical shaft engaging a bevel gear on tlie axis of the fihn-Avindiug reek As 
the shaft is revolved by the handle on the outside, the lenses are brought 
respectively behind tlie opening in the front of the box and transmit tlie 



momentary im- 
ages as they pass 
the opening to 
the moving sensi- 
tized film whicli 
goes in the same 
direction as the moving lens, and at the same speed. The exposed film is at 
the same time wound up on the top reel. With the same apparatus the 
positive pictures may be' reeled oif of one spool to the other, being pro- 
jected by the electric light in the rear, illuminated by rotating condensers, one 
for each lamp. The pictures may be looked at in the box, through a small 
screen; they are made at the rate of twenty-five to the second, and are about 
three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and one-quarter of an inch ai^art, on 
a continuous sensitized celluloid strip about one and a half inches wide, hav- 
ing perforations in its edges, in which the sprocket wheels of the projecting 
device engage. The projecting apparatus is shown in Fig. 1, and consists of 
an electric arc lamp in front of which is a condenser. In advance of that 
is the motor for operating the feed mechanism, and in fi'ont of all is the 
film traveling device and the objective. Our second engraving is a view of 
the stand comjdete, showing the rheostat, switches, etc., for regulating the 
current. The film, after passing behind the lens, is Avound up on the reel 
below. Our third engraving shows the use of the apparatus in the theater. It 
is placed in a cabinet surrounded by curtains, in an upper gallery, the images 
being thrown forward upon a screen upon the stage. 



In projecting pictures of this kind it has been usual to employ slmtters 
operating in unison with the movements of the picture ribbon. After a series 
of experiments it was found that the same effect of motion could be produced 
by causino- the ribbon itself to have an intermittent movement without the 
use of shutters at all, which greatly simplifies the apparatus. A film-working 

apparatus based on this 
idea is shown in detail 
at Fig. 4. The elec- 
tric motor operates a 


muin shaft to which it is geared, a worm engaging a gear on the shaft 
witli the main sprocket pulley, and draws the picture ribbon downward at 
a uniform speed. Back of this shaft maybe seen the mam shaft, intended 
to rotate rapidly, on the end of which is a disk having a roller eccen- 
trically fixed thereto. Behind tliis is a standard supporting spring-tension 
fingers behind the leus. As the film is drawn forward by the main sprocket 





pulley, it is quickly pulled downward by each rotation of the rapidly moving 
eccentric roller on the disk. The sjirocket pulley meanwhile takes up the 
slack of the ribbon, so that at the next rotation the eccentric roller quickly 
pulls the film down and makes the change; from the sprocket pulley the film 
is carried to the winding wheel operated automatically from the main shaft by 




means of pulleys; or, when it is desired to repeat the subject over and over 
again, the endless film is allowed to drop into folds in a box lo;3ated under tlie 
sprocket pulley, passing out at the rear, npward over pulleys arranged above 
the spring-tension fingers, then downward between them again to the main 

Fig. 7 is a diagram of a film-moving mechanism of an English inventor, 
Mr. Birt Acres, which has been successfully operated in Loudon. 

FIG. 7.— aches' projecting DEVICE. 

The picture film is drawn from an npper reel, passed over a sprocket pnlloy, 
downward through a retaining clamjj, and over a second jnilley to the bottom 
or winding reel. The film passes over both sprocket pulleys at a uniform 
speed, between a stationary and swinging clamp operated automatically from 
the shaft of the shutter and which holds the film stationary Avhen the opening 
of the shutter is behind the lens, during the interval the picture is projected on 
the screen. The clamp is released; then the pivoted lever below, with a roller 
on the upper end, is pulled inward at tlie other end by a spring and immedi- 
ately takes up the slack (as shown by the clotted lines), and causes, by such 
sudden movement, the bringing of the next picture into position. 




The " mutograpli" and '' mutoscope " are names of very interesting 
machines for presenting moving photographs. The camera frame is mounted, 
by means of three adjustable legs, upon a triangular turntable, which may be 
placed upon any suitable support. Ujion the top of the frame is bolted a two 
horse-power electric motor which is driven by a set of storage batteries; the 
combination of the turntable with a vertical adjustable enables the camera to 
be shifted so as to take in the required field. In the front of the camera is 
fixed a lens of great light-gathering quality which produces an image of 
exceedingly clear detail. Inside the camera is a strip of gelatine film two and 
three-quarter inches wide, and usually about one hundred and sixty feet in 
length, which is wound upon a small pulley and drum. The length of the 
film varies for different subjects. In case of a prolonged scene it may extend 
several thousand feet. The film is led through a series of rollers, and is 
caused to pass directly behind the lens of the camera, and is finally wound 
upon a drum. The object of the rollers is to cause the film to pass behind the 
lens with an intermittent instead of a continuous motion. At ordinary speeds 
this could be easily accomplished, but the difficulties are increased when it is 
remembered that the impressions are taken at the rate of forty per second, and 
that the film, which is running at the rate of seven or eight feet a second, has 
to be stopped and started with equal frequency. The film comes to a rest just 
as the shutter opens, and starts again as the shutter closes. The impressions 
vary in actual exposure between one one-hundredth and one four-hundredth of 




a second. While the ordinary speed is forty a second, the mutoscope can take 
equally good pictures at the rate of one hundred per second, if it is necessary. 
The highest speed would be used in j)hotogra23hing the flight of a projectile or 
other object which was in extremely rapid motion. After the mutograph has 
done its work, the films are carefully packed and sent to the New York estab- 
lishment of the American Mutoscope Company. Here they are taken to tiie 
dark room, the interior of which is shown in our engraving. Arranged along 
each side of this room is a series of troughs^ above which are suspended large 
skeleton reels three feet in diameter and seven feet long, the axes of the reels 
being journaled in brackets attached to the end of the trough. The films are 
wound upon the reels and snbjected to the action of the various solntions for 
developing, fixing, etc., the reels being transferred from bath to bath until the 
films are ready to go to the drying-room. In this room are also prepared posi- 
tive transparent strips for use in the biograph and the bromide prints for the 
m utoscope. 




The films are unwound on to large wooden drnms about the same size as 
the reels, where they are carefully dried. At the far end of the room are seen 
the machines for cutting up the bromide prints. Here also is carried on the 
work of retouching the films aiul 2)reparing them for use in the biograpli and 
mutoscope pictures. The biograj)h is somewhat similar to machines which we 
have aready described. 

The annexed engravings show pictures" of clay-jiigeon shooting and of the 
firing of a ten-inch disappearing gun at Sandy Hook. 

Upon the roof of the New York establishment of the company there has 
been erected a large movable stage for taking photographs of celebrated scenes 
from plays or of individual performance's in which it is desired to reproduce 
the motions as well as the features of the subject. It consists of a floor of 
steel I-beams wlii(;h carries a series of three concentric steel tra])s. Upon this 
rotates the massive fiiime at one end of which is a stage suijplied with the 
necessary scenery, and at the other end a con-ugated iron house, in which 


■- , i^ 












is located the mutograpli. Tlie stage is bolted to the frame, but the house 
travels upon a track, so that it may be moved to or from the stage as required. 
The frame carrying the stage and house rotates about the smaller circular track 
located beneath the house, and may be swung around so as to throw the light 
full upon the scene at any hour of the day. 


The " mutoscope " is compact, and the pictures are large. It is not any 
larger than the cover of a sewing machine. The enlarged bromide prints, meas- 
uring four by six inches, are mounted in close consecutive order around the cyl- 
inder and extend out like the leaves of a book, as shown in the illustration. 
In the operation of the mutoscope the spectator has the performance entirely 
under his own control by turning a crank which is placed conveniently at hand, 
and may make the operation as quick or as slow as he desires, and can stop 
the machine at any particular picture at will. Each picture is momentarily 
held in front of the lens by the action of a slot attached to the roof of the 
box, wliich allows the pictures to slip by in much the same way as the thumb is 
used upon the leaves of a book. 



The "cinematograph" camera, invented by the Messrs. Lumiere & Sons, 
works on a somewhat different principle from those we have ah'eady described. 
In this camera the film is carried forward intermittently, no sprocket wheel 
being used. The film-moving mechanism is fully illustrated in Figs. 1 and 3. 

The film-moving device consists of two prongs which somewhat resemble 
a fork. It is shown at D in Fig. 3. The prongs are alternately pushed 
through or withdrawn from the perforated ribbon by the aid of a rotating bar, 
C. The film-moving device, D, has really a shuttle movement, having a 
rapid reciprocating motion. The rotating bar, C, which is secured to the 
main shaft, is so arranged that its ends, which are bent in opposite directions, 
strike on alternate sides of the wedge-shaped piece which is secured to the 
fork, D, and thus impart to the latter a reciprocating motion. The up- 
and-down motion of the film is accomplished by the aid of a cam which is 
secured to the main shaft. The reciprocating yoke piece. A, is given a vertical 
motion when the crank shaft is rotated. The arm, B, is attached to the yoke 
piece. A, and this carries down the film through the medium of the fork, D. 
When the film has been lowered the distance of one exposure, the rotating 
bar, C, strikes the fork and removes the prongs from the film. The yoke 
piece then raises the prongs, and the other arm of the rotating bar strikes 
the wedge-shaped piece, and forces the fork, D, through the apertures in 
the film. On the main shaft is also arranged the shutter, E, which rotates 

KIOS. 1, :i, AN|) :t. l<ll,M-M()VIN(i MIOCUANISM. 




with the film-moviug mechanism. Fig. 2 shows the simplicity of the camera. 
On tlie npper end of the box is the sensitized ribbon, which passes downward 
between guides before the lens opening. The bent ends of the cam operating 
bar, which give the fork, D, its reciprocating motion, are shown in Fig. 3. 
Fig. 4 is a general view of the instrument, showing the driving gear and film 
support. Fig. 5 shows the cinematograph camera in operation. It will be seen 
that the camera is very portable. The same camera can be converted into a 
projecting apparatus for throwing moving pictures upon the screen. The 
images are about an inch square. 


The camera for ribbon photography which we illustrate is the invention of 
Mr. C. F. Jenkins, the inventor of the '* vitascope," which we have already 
described. Instead of using a rotary disk shutter, the radial apertures, and a 



fixed leus, this camera has a single opening in the front, tlie size of tlie aper- 
ture being regulated at its rear end by a diaphragm disk having radial slots 
of varying widths cut therein. Tlie oi)erator is thereby enabled to govern 
the amount of light admitted to the lenses according to the subject to be pho- 
tographed and the length of the exposure desired. Tliis disk is rotated by 
hand, like an ordinary stop in a wide-angle lens. Back of the diaphragm disk 
is the battery of lenses, each of the same focus, arranged in a circle, joining 
each other, upon a rotating disk which is secured to a shaft which extends 
rearward and terminates in a bevel gear wheel which meshes Avitli a side 
bevel gear wheel fixed upon the main shaft, suitably geared to the main 
driving shaft. 

The main shaft may be operated by a crank on the outside of the box, by 
hand or by any suitable motor. The sensitized celluloid perforated ribbon film 
may be noticed passing downwards near the front end of the camera, in front of 
the exposure tension plate, the square aperture in which is exactly in line 
with the front aperture in the box. From this point the film, after exjiosure, 
passes downward between the sprocket wheel and pressure roller to the wind- 
ing reel in the rear end of the camera, which is rotated by belt-connection to a 
pulley on the upper shaft and takes up the film ribbon as rapidly as it is 
exposed. A feed roll for the supply of unexposed film is not shown, but may 
be located at the rear of the camera, over the winding reel. The operation will 
be readily understood. The camera is placed upon the tripod or stand; the 
crank on the outside is rotated, which causes the film to travel downwards con- 
tinuously, at exactly the same speed at which the lenses rotate, so that at every 
fraction of a second tluit it takes for each leus to pass behind the camera 
aperture an impression of light is made on the downwardly moving film; and 
as the lenses and film both move in unison, it follows that a sharp 2)ictare will 
be the result while the brilliancy of the illumination is at its maximum. The 
camera can be carried about as readily as any other camera. In practice it is 
found that the motion of the hand-operated crank is sufficiently uniform to 
permit of the proper reproduction of motion by the positive pictures projected 
upon the screen. 

Our next engraving shows how the positive ribbon pictures for the vitascope 
and other forms of apparatus are printed; this is also the invention of jMr. 
Jenkins. It consists of reels supported on suitable upright standards holding 
respectively the sensitized ribbon film and the negative film. The film from the 
negative supply wheel is carried along over the sensitized film wheel, and both 
pass in contact, in continuous motion, under an exposing chamber illuminated 
by any source of white light, as an incandescent lamp or a Welsbach incandes- 
cent gaslight, thence over the toothed sprocket driving wheel to the winding 
wheels, the exposed film being ■wound first. This Avill be better understood 
by reference to our detailed diagram of the mechanism. It will be noticed 
that the reels are interchangeable, and hence, to make duplicate cojnes it is 
only necessary to remove the negative spool from the winding-up end to the 
supply-spool standard of the apparatus, and begin over again. The perfora- 

m l,l|'||n\||ilIi;iHf« 



tions in the edges of the fihn are of a siDecial square shape, and give the square 
sprocket wheel of the propelling pulley a better tension on the film. The teeth 
pass through the perforations of both films, causing both to move at exactly 
the same time, and at all times to keep in perfect registry. The speed of the 
film passing under the exposing chamber must be absolutely uniform; this is 
obtained by propelling the sprocket wheel by an electric motor or by a spring 
motor. The electric motor is seen in the large wood cut. The axle of the 


motor has worm gear operating a cog wheel on the main shaft. The V-shaped 
elastic band holds the frame in which is a ground glass in contact with the film, 
producing a kind of tension on the film. To the left of the liglit chamber is 
a supplementary tension adjusted by screw nuts, as shown. Eeferring to the 
diagram, two slotted diaphragm cards will be seen. These are placed over the 
ground glass just mentioned, at the bottom of the light chamber, and are for 
the purpose of regulating the amount of light that acts on the negative. If 



the negative film, as a wliole, should be thin, then a card with a narrow slot is 
used, which allows a short exposure to be made if the negative and film are 
passed under it. If the negative is fall of density, then the narrow card is 
removed, and the wider slotted card substituted, which allows a larger volume 
of light to act upon the negative film. The exposed film is wound around 
large open reels from a spool and is developed by passing through cloths of 
developer solution. The novelty in the device which we illustrate consists in 
the fact that the film moves continuously under a uniform source of light, 
under any intermittent motion or the use of shutters. The operation of 
exposing the film is carried out in a room illuminated by the usual ruby light. 


The principles of the kinetoscope or mutoscope have been applied to the 
microscope, with some interesting results, by Dr. Robert L. Watkins, of New 
York City. The instrument, though simple, was made a success only after 
many experiments and failures in adjusting the objective of the microscope in 
a line with the right sort of light and a rapidly moving film. 

The principal difficulties in making a mutoscope out of so delicate an 
instrument as the microscope are the light and the lens. Every electric lamp 
in the market, when its light has been concentrated sufficiently for pho- 
tography, will, after a short time, with its heat, kill, dry up, or impair almost 
any kind of life in the microscopic field. The greater the magnification, the 

* By D. F. St. Clair. 


:>Tj ■ ,^.j<w^ 



more intense the litjht must be and the nearer the microscope. This difficulty 
was often enhanced by the length of time it took to get a focus on the sensitive 
film, but most of the pictures taken were good, and show well the various 
characteristics of the action taking place in cell life, so far as it can be 
observed with the microscope. 

Whatever is to be photographed, once it is put in the field of the lens, is 
adjusted to a horizontal plane. Near one end of the microscope is placed an 
electric lantern containing a small arc light concentrated on the object. Xear 
the other end is the box that covers the ajiparatus for moving the long, sensi- 
tive gelatine film. The film runs like a belt, on wheels, and passes in front of 
a tiny window in the box and on a direct line with the lens and light. This 
machinery is turned by a crank, and its ordinary capacity is about 1,600 
pictures per minute. It is possible to increase it to 2,000 or 2,500, but for 
most purposes 1,000 or even less per minute will record every motion taking 
place in most cell life. Dr. Watkins found, however, after a number of trials, 
that he could not tarn the machine fast enough to photograph the motion of 
the blood circulating in the web of a frog's foot. He simply needed a larger 

The advantages of mutoscopic photography to microscopy are quite evident, 
especially as regards the action of bacteria and blood cells. Nearly all the 
numerous families of bacteria have motion, many having motion that the eye 
cannot always follow clearly. It has already been discovered that the same kind 
of bacteria will act very differently under different circumstances. For instance, 
a flash of bright light will suddenly drive some kinds to cover. Some kinds 
will readily seek the negative j)ole of the battery. They will also seek food 
with avidity and reject poison with true instinct. All such phenomena can, 
of course, be followed with the eye, but not with the same detail in the micro- 
scopic field as in a series of clear photographs. The fact is that on account of 
the motion of some bacteria it has been well nigh impossible to photograph 
them. The books have had to depend upon the eye and hand of the draughts- 
man and upon vague description. This may not be of much importance either 
way, but as yet comparatively little is known about bacteria. It is not yet 
known whether they are the cause of disease, or its results, or neither. Pho- 
tography, under the proper circumstances, is most needed for the investigator, 
and it can be only moving photography. 


The capillary or circulatory motion of the blood cells, after the blood has 
been drawn, is comparatively slow at best ; but the amoeboid movement of 
the white cells and the changes taking place in the nuclei are complicated, and 
often hard to intelligently watch in the field. Many of these changes occur- 
ring in the white cells are certain to escape attention, but all of them will be 
clearly recorded on the rapidly moving sensitive film. These motions in tlie 
white cells, though they are as yet imperfectly understood, are full of meaning 
to the physiologist and pathologist. The offices that the blood performs in the 
body are believed to be due mainly to the action of the white cells. Certainly, 
the character of their amoeboid action is one of the surest indications of health 
or disease. 

But with the micromotoscope it need no longer be impossible to photo- 
graph the blood in actual circulation. With a better light the cells may be 
seen in the thin tissue of the ear or the web of the fingers. They have often 
been examined in the peritoneum dui-ing an operation, and Dr. Watkins him- 
self has made a close study of them in the web feet of some birds and the tails 
of fishes. 

Unfortunately, the illustration of blood here reproduced does not show the 
white cells. They stuck to the glass, while the red cells, it will be perceived, 
retain something of their motion, continuing to flow across the field for half 
an hour after the blood was drawn. 






This was a trick of the late Alexander Herrmann. lu the center of the 
stage is placed a light table with three legs and a plush top. The prestidigi- 
tateur moves his hand over the table ; suddenly it rises in the air and follows 
his hands wherever he moves them. The secret of the trick will be easily 
understood by reference to our engraving. A small nail is driven in the 
center of the table. This nail is not noticed by the audience, and the plush 
top tends to hide it. The magician wears a ring w^hich is flattened on the 
inner surface and a small notch is filed in it. The ring is placed on the middle 
linger of the right hand ; the hand is spread over the table until the notch fits 
under the head of the nail. The table can then be lifted with great ease, and 
it appears to follow the hand of the conjurer in obedience to the magic wand. 





This very clever illusion was desigued by Mr. W. E. Robinson, tlie assistant 
of the late Herrmann the Great. It lias been exhibited in several of the lai'ge 
cities, and is always a great success. When the curtain is raised the square frame 
is seen ; this frame is braced laterally by side pieces. At the lower part of the 
frame, within easy reach of the prestidigitateur, is a windlass. Hopes pass from 
this windlass, over pulleys, to a crossbar in the upper part of the frame. A 


lady is now brought upon the stage and for some terrible crime is sentenced to 
be electrocuted. She is seated in a chair, which she grasps tightly. She is 
then tied tightly to the chair with ropes, and her hands are chained together. 
The prestidigitateur now secures the chair, with its fair occupant, to the ropes 
which are connected with the windlass, by means of hooks which fasten to the 
top frame of the chair. Wires are now secured to the unfortunate lady so 



that it really seems as though she was to receive the death-dealing curreut. 
Tlie professor of magic now winds away at the windlass and raises the chair 
until the head of the victim is on a level with the crossbar. He then 
discharges a pistol, and at the same instant the lady disappears and the chair 
drops to the floor. Such is, in brief, the mode of operation of the trick called 
'• Gone." 

In reality the illusion is a clever atla^jtation of the "Pepper (Jhost" of 
Avhich we have already described several variations. A reference to our first 
engraving will show that at the sides of the frame is a row of incandescent 
lights. AVhile the lady is being secured to the chair, and while she is being 
hoisted up to the crossbar, these lamps are kept lighted; but the instant the 
pistol is fired, these lights are extinguished by a stage hand in the side scene. 
Up over the proscenium arch is arranged a background which corresponds to 



the background of the stage. Two wooden bars cross it. Directly below this 
screen, and carefully shielded from the observation of the spectators, is a row of 
incandescent lights. As the pistol is fired these lights are turned on, while 
those in the frame are extinguished. Xow, according to the princi])les of the 
'' Pepper Ghost " which we have already described, the person or thing which 
is brilliantly lighted has its image projected on a sheet of glass and appears to 
be real. The front of the frame, from the windlass to the horizontal cross 
piece, is covered with a sheet of glass Avhich is not apparent to the audience. 


The image of the backgrouud is projected upon this glass, which hides 
the lady from view, although she is immediately behind it, and the pieces of 
wood and this artificial background take the place of the back posts of the 
frame, thus deceiving the audience. The chair is made in two sections, the 
lady being tied to the upper, or skeleton chair. She holds a heavy chair with 
her hand tightly, and at the instant when the pistol is fired she releases the 
chair, which falls to the floor with a loud noise. 

There is another illusion, called " Out of Sight," invented also by Mr. AV. E. 
Eobinson, which is somewhat similar, but is not as interesting from a scientific 
point of view. It is, however, better adapted for a traveling company, as 
there is no glass to break, the large sheet of plate glass in the front of the 
frame being entirely dispensed with. When the pistol is fired, a curtain of the 
same color as the background is released by theprestidigitateur, and it is drawn 
down quickly by means of rubber bands. It takes only an instant for the cur- 
tain to descend, its lower edge being hidden from view by the windlass. The 
audience is usually deceived as easily by this illusion as by the more com- 
plicated one. 


This is one of the most interesting of the series of tricks which depend 
upon mirrors, and of which the '" Decapitated Princess " is a type. AVhen the 
curtain rises, the scene shows a gentleman's country house set upon the 
embankment and surrounded by grass plots and shrubbery. This is painted 
scenery such as is usually used in theaters. The house is approached by a set of 
stone steps which are built out from the scene proper, or, in other words, the 
drop. These are what is known in theatrical parlance as " practical " steps ; 
that is, they may be ascended. The steps are encased by side walls, and these 
walls are surmounted by vases of flowers and handsome lamp posts. The steps 
lead to the doorway of the house ; the door is also "practical," and can be 
opened and shut. The story runs that the house was deserted for such a long 
time that the steps were covered by a gigantic spider's Aveb, and the spectator is 
surprised to see this web, Avliich extends from post to post and to the side walls 
of the steps. 

In the center of this gigantic web is seen a spider's body with a woman's 
head. The steps leading to the doorway of the house are open, and a person 
starts to descend, but stops on seeing the spider, and retreats after taking three 
or four steps down the stairs. This adds greatly to the illusion, as it looks as 
if it could not be produced by a mirror. You can see both above and below 
the head, and the steps may be. seen at any angle you choose. The puzzling 
part of the trick is the question of the whereabouts of the lady's body. 

Eeference to our second and third engravings will give the secret of the 
trick. The mirror lies at an angle of 45° and runs from the base of the posts 



to the rear of one of the treads of the lower steps. The mirror extends the full 
width of the steps. A semicircular hole is cut out of the center of the mirror, 

at the top edge ; this is to receive 

the lady's head. 

The spider's bodj' is fastened 
to the network of rope ; the lady 
has simply to affix this Ixtd}' to 
lior head, and the illusion is com- 
jjletc, as the body of the lady is 
concealed behind the glass. The 
mirror reflects the lower steps, so 
that this reflection really appears 
to bo a coutinnation of the steps, 
and the entire flight seems un- 
broken. A\ hen the person appears 
at til e door and descends the steps, 
he must 1)0 careful not to come 
l)elow the line of reflection, as 
his legs Avill not be visible. The 
top edge of the glass is concealed by a rope of the web, as it is directly in front 
of it, and for safety is usually cemented to tlie glass. 

In our diagram. No. 1 represents the steps ; 2, the mirror ; 3, the web; 
and 4, the lady. This tricic requires the most careful prejiaration and adjust- 
ment, but when this is accomplished, the results arc extremely satisfactory. 






This trick, which attracted the attention of the world for montlis, is of 
English origin, and was presented in England long before it was introduced 
into Paris. The experiment consists of having a trunk examined, tying it, 
securing a cover over it, tying it a second time, sealing it with wax, and then 
showing that in a few seconds a young East Indian has succeeded in getting 
inside of it without unfastening the cords, breaking the seals, or opening the 





Half the bottom of the trunk constitutes a trap door which is opened by 
inserting a round key in one of the ventilating apertures. As soon as the trunk 
has been tied, sealed, and placed under a canopy, the curtains of which are let 
down so as to hide the trunk from the spectators, the East Indian, who is also 
invisible to the spectators, lays the trunk down as shown in our second engrav- 
ing, unbuckles the cover and slides it down, takes his key, opens the trap door, 
gets into the trunk, puts the cover in place, buckles it, and then closes the trap 
door. To raise the trunk to its proper position, he takes a long screw, some- 
thing like a gimlet, from his pocket, inserts it in one of the holes under him, 
and turns it ; the trunk rises slowly, and when it has reached its point of equi- 
librium, it falls back suddenly on its bottom. The noise thus made is the signal 
for the operator, who immediately draws back the curtains, finds by the weight 
that something is in the trunk, and then unties it slowly and presents the mys- 
terious traveler to the audience. 

It will be seen by one of our engravings that the Indian appears tied in a 
bag in the trunk. This is a variation of the trick. The bag is made of some 
light or soft material, and is provided with a hem at the mouth. In this hem 
runs a cord or tape ; the performer draws the string tight, and seals the knots 
at the same time. The bag is then placed in the trunk, and the trunk is 
secured as above. The assistant who enters the trunk has concealed under 





his blouse a similar bag, the string of which is long enough to correspond in 
appearance to that of the otlier bag when it is tied and sealed. There are 
a couple of stitches missing on each side of the hem, leaving space enough 
for the assistant to insert his fingers. When he enters the trunk he removes 
this bag from his blouse, placing the original bag in the place of the duplicate. 
He now goes into the duplicate bag and places it up over his head, and, insert- 
ing his four fingers into the opening in the hem, draws in all the slack of 
the string, thus closing the bag, which is, of course, to all apj)earauces, tied 
and sealed as the oridnal. 





Tliis illusion, made jiopnlar a few years ago by the late A. Herrmann, 
under the name of ''Strobeika" was originally produced at Iloudin's Little 
Hall, in Paris, by the inventors of it, two Germans, llerren Lutz and Markgraf. 

The trick is supposed to take phice in a prison or dungeon. In the center 
of the stage, quite near the back scene, stand four upright posts about eight 
feet high, and set about eight feet apart on tlio long side, and four ou thesliort. 
These posts are made fast to a rectangular iron frame at the top, from the four 
corners of which are chains supporting a plank about an inch and a quarter 
thick, all in full view of the audience. Curtains hang from the framework to 
about a foot bohjw the level of the board ; these curtains can be opened or closed 
b}' sliding them back and forth on the frame, rings being sewed on them to 
allow of this being done easily. A man supposed to be a prisoner is stretched 
upon the plank ; his wrists and ankles are manacled and locked by a committee 
from the audience, who can furnish, if tliey desire, locks of their own. Ilis 
neck is also enclosed in a steel collar and locked to the plank. At a signal the 
curtains are closed, and, as they reach only a little way below the plank, 
permit of a full view underneath, to the rear wall of the stage. In less 
than a minute the curtains are withdrawn again, and a young lady is seen to 






have taken the phice of the man, who, at the instant of the girl's discovery, is 
seen running down the aisle of the theater. Now, let us see how this strange 
trick is accomplished. 

The first thing is the explanation of how the man hecomes released from 
the shackles. It jirincipally lies in the construction of the board. There is no 
deception about the keys, locks, or manacles, since it is not at all neces- 
sary to the decej)tiou that there should be. The board is hollow and contains 
cunningly concealed levers, four in number, which move simultaneously. 
The eyes that the manacles slip over, and to which the locks are fastened, 
go into the board and are held fast by the ends of these levers, which enter 
a hole or notch, as the case may be, in the eye. The shackles and neck 
piece and their respective eyes are all made fast to an iron plate or bed 
which is bolted to the board ; a bolt at each corner of the plates goes 
through the board and secures another plate at the bottom of it, making 
all firm. There is one bolt, however, that does not go through ; it is 
riveted to one of the short levers, and by its means the system of levers is 





"[ i 

_ -^^x 





■ 1 

= ^==!| 







■ 1 


1 lyitiy 




_ ,.„ 






FIGS. 4-7 


pushed backward or forward. There is a nut on the bottom plate to make it 
appear as if this identical bolt went completely through, the same as the others. 
The levers run in grooves made in any suitable part of the board and covered 
by a strip of wood or other material, thus rendering the mechanism invisible, 
and appearing as if the board was solid. 

At each corner of the board is a ring or screw eye, into which the chain pro- 
vided with a hook is secured, by which to susjiend the board. The four levers 




are i^ivoted to a rocking lever in the center of the board, wliicli is likewise 
pivoted. By this means all the levers are moved simultaneously. When the 
lever is moved it releases all the shackles, and the prisoner is then, of course, 
free, and it is but the work of a moment to climb out through an opening in 
the scene at the back, where the lady who is to take his place is now waiting 
on the end of a long board pushed out through the opening in the scene. 
The lady gets on the trick board, the man slams the shackles into place, 
moves the bolt back, thus shoving the levers back into tlieir notches in the 
e3'es, again making everything fast, makes his escape through the scene, and 
appears a minute later from the front of the theater. 

The trick is varied sometimes by using double curtains at the back; con- 
cealed between them is the lady. After the exchange the man hides in the 
same place, and another man, his exact counterpart, is the one who makes his 
appearance in the audience. 


"Metempsychosis" is the name of an illusion which was the joint inven- 
tion of Messrs. Walker and Pepper, of London. It was devised by the former 
gentleman, and the latter assisted in perfecting it. It is probably the most 
mystifying of any of the optical tricks. It has of late years been shown in 
America, by Kellar, under the title of the "Blue Room." The first effect 
produced upon the spectator after witnessing the illusion is that he has been 
dreaming, or seeing ghosts or spirits, for it seems utterly impossible for man 
to accomplish the wonders produced by it. 

Our first engraving shows the stage set as an artist's studio. Through the 
center of the rear drop scene is seen a small chamber in which is a suit of armor 
standing upright. The floor of this apartment is raised above the level of the 
stage and is approached by a short flight of steps. When the curtain is I'aised 
a servant makes his appearance and begins to dust and clean the apartments. 
lie finally comes to the suit of armor, taking it apart, cleans and dusts it, and 
finally reassembles it. No sooner is the suit of armor perfectly articulated than 
the soulless mailed figure deals the servant a blow. The domestic, with a cry 
of fear, drops his duster, flies down the steps into the large room, the suit of 
armor pursuing him, wrestling with him, and kicking him all over the st;ige. 
Wlien the suit of armor considers that it has punished the servant sufficiently, 
it returns to its original position in the small chamber, just as the master 
of the house enters, brought there by the noise and cries of the servant, from 
whom he demands an explanation of the commotion. Upon being told, he 
derides the servant's fear, and, to prove that he was mistaken, takes the suit of 
armor apart, throwing it piece by piece upon the floor. This is only one of 
the countless effects which can be })roduced by this interesting illusion. 



The working of the ilhision will be understood by reference to the diagram, 
Fig. 2. At A we have the proscenium opening ; B B are two flats of scenery 

which close in the scene from the front 
wings to the steps, C, which in their turn 
lead up to the small chamber, D, at the back, 
in which all the changes occur. The walls 
of the chamber are lettered E', E', E', E'. 
F is a large mirror extending from floor to 
ceiling, and capable of being wheeled back 
and forth on a truck or carriage. When this 
mirror is withdrawn, as seen at the dotted 
lines, G, the spectators see through the open- 
ing of the chamber to the rear wall. The 
suit of armor is marked H. Now, if the 
mirror be pushed across the chamber, both 
the armor, H, and the rear wall disappear, 
and the walls of the chamber at E' and E'^ are reflected so that they appear to be 
the walls E' and E\ There is another suit of armor at I. It is placed so that, 
when it is reflected in the mirror, it will occupy the exact position of the other 
suit of armor, H. When the mirror is shoved forward and hides the suit 
of armor, H, an actor dressed in a similar suit enters behind the glass by a 
secret door, removes the dummy armor, and assumes the same place himself. 
All this time the suit of armor at I is reflected in the mirror, so that a suit of 
armor is always visible. The mirror is now drawn back, and the suit of armor 
which the actor wears is seen. When the servant now dusts the armor, it sud- 
denly seems to become endowed with life and chases him around the room ; 
and when it again mounts the stej)S in the smaller room, the mirror is 
shoved forward, the actor making his escape in time to place the first suit of 
armor where it formerly stood. Now the mirror is again drawn out, revealing 
the sides of the room, E'' and E*, and of course exposing the suit of armor, H. 
If the walls, E' and E^ and the armor, I, are correctly placed as regards reflec- 
tion, he can pass the mirror to and fro at will, without any change being 
detected, as the reflection takes the place of 
the reality, and v/e suppose we are looking 
at the real object. 

As the edge of the mirror jiasses the suit 
of armor a hard line is to be seen, a distinct 
vertical line, which would seem to wipe out 
the object as it ])asses. To avoid this, the 
inventors hit upon a novel and purely in- 
genious expedient. They etched vertical 
lines in the silver back of the glass at the 

end which first passes across the field of view, beginning with thick silvered 
spaces close together, and tapering, with the lines farther apart as shown in our 
diagram, Fig. 3. It can thus be seen that the reflected article gradually appears 

FIG. 3. 


instead of coming suddenly into view, and when the mirror is moved away the 
real article gradually appears. 

In order that the edges of the glass may be better disguised as it moves 
forward or backward, the edge is cut or ground into steps, as shown in Fig, 4. 

By the ap2:)aratus described above, many changes can be made, as a livino^ 
man appearing in a previously empty chair, flowers growing on an empty bush, 
a change of a man into a woman, a painted picture into a living one, etc. In 
some effects a table is employed, to all appearances tlie common square 
kitchen table. A person is seen sitting at the table, which is empty ; sud- 
denly there appears before hiiu a large dish of oranges or a meal. This is 
arranged by providing the table with a slot which runs diagonally from corner 
to corner. This allows the glass to travel through it, and thus shuts off one- 
half of the table. Articles are placed on the table, behind the glass, which 
is now withdrawn, leaving them to be seen upon the table. The slot in the 
top of the table is covered with sheet rubber or other material. 

FIG. 4. 





compiled, with notes, by 
Henry Ridgely Evans. 



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BuRSiLL, H. Hand-shadows to be thrown upon the Wall ; Consisting of Novel and 
Amusing Figures formed by the Hand, from Original Designs. Second series, in one 
volume. New York. — , 

Caulyle, Thomas. Count Cagliostro. In his Miscellaneous Essays. 

This is a fascinating sketcli of tiie most famous of cliarlatans and pretenders to magic. It is written in 
Carljle's characteristic style, and is, perhaps, more of a philosophical study of the genus quack than an impar- 
tial biography of the celebrated necromancer of the old regime. A more detailed account of Cagliostro's 
romantic career is to be found in the series of articles by William E. A. Axon, published in the Dublin University 
Magazine, vols. Ixxviii. and Ixxix. (1871, 1872). All biographies of Cagliostro are founded on the work published 
in Rome, 1790, under the auspices of the Holy Apostolic Chamber. The Italian life contains an elaborate expose 
of the great magician's system of Egyptian masonry, also thy full Inquisition sentence pronounced against him. 
This highly interesting product of pai)al jurisprudence makes strange reading for the nineteenth century. In 
the year 1791 the Inquisition biography was translated into French, under the title of Le Tie de Joseph 
Balsamo, contni sous le nom de Comte Cagliostro. It has for a frontispiece a steel -engraved portrait of 
Cagliostro. Original editions of this rare and curious old work may be seen in the Peabody Library, of Balti- 
more, Md.; the Scottish Rite Library, of Washington, D. C; and the Masonic Library of Grand Rapids, Iowa. 

Cagliostro made adroit use of hypnotism, optical illusions, and chemical tricks. He was past master of the 
art of deception. Modern professors of conjuring are fond of using the name of Cagliostro for all sorts of 
magical feats, such as the " Mask of Balsamo," " Cagliostro's Casket and Cards," " Cagliostro's Cabinet," etc. 

Cakpenter, William H. At an Algerian Aissaoua. Current Literature, vol. xix. pp. 

The Aissaoua are the miracle-mongers of Algeria. For explanation of their tricks, see the concluding chap- 
ter of Rbbert-Houdin's memoirs. 

Conjurer Unmasked, Tue : With the Tricks of the Divining Hod, Magical Table, 
etc. 1790. 

Conjurer's Guide. Glasgow, 1850. 

Cremer, W. H. Hanky-panky : A Collection of Conjuring Tricks. London, — . 8vo. 

The Magician's Own Book. London, — . 8vo. 

CuMBEULAND, Stu.vkt. A Thought-Reader's Thoughts : Impressions and Confessions of 
a Thought-Reader. liondon, 1888. 8vo. 

Daveni'OKT, Reuben Briggs. The Death-Blow to Spiritualism. Being the true story of 
the Fox sisters as revealed by authority of Margaret Fox Kane and Catherine Fox 
Jencken. New York, 1888. 8vo. 247 pp. 

A rare and interesting work, with portraits of Margaret Fox Kane and Katie Fox Jencken, the pioneer 
mediums of American spiritualism. 

Dessoir, Max. The Magic Mirror. Monist, vol. i. p. 87. 

The Psychology of I^egerdemain. Open Court, vol. vii. 

Seriea of arlicluB translated from the German. Of great interest to psychologists. 


De Vere, M. S. Modern Magic. 1869. 

Evans, IIenky Ridcki-Y. Hours with the Ghosts ; or, XIX. ('cntiiry Witclicraft. Inves- 
tigations into the Phenomena of Spiritiiahsni and Theosoi)hy. Chicago, 1897. 8vo. 
This work, in the main, is a critit-al study of tlio phenomena of modern spiritualism. It is divided into two 
parts— psychical phenomena and physical j)henomena. Concerning the first, the author ascribes the manifesta- 
tions witnessed by him in test seances, with professional and non-professional subjects, to telepathy, etc., not to 
spirit intervention. As regards the second phase, he takes a decidedly negative view. Kxpoxen are given of 
psychography, or slate-writing tests, had with such famous mediums as Pierre Keeler, Dr. Henry Slade, etc. The 
alleged miracles of modern theosophy are also treated at length. Interesting features of the book are the 
biographies of Madame Blavatsky, I). T). Home, Dr. Sladi,-, etc., and the history of the Theosophical Society from 
its inception to the present tiiie (18.17). A Bibliography of the leading critical treatises on psychic phenomena is 
appended to the book. 

EwBANKS, T. A Descri]>tive and Historical Account of Hydraulic and Other Machines for 
Raising Water, Ancient and Modern, with Ohservations on Various Sul)jects connected 
with the Mechanic Arts. New York, 1851. Svo. 
Contains many descriptions of magical automata of ancient Greece and Rome. 

F1TZGERAT.D, H. A Chat with Mr. Maskelyue and Mr. Charles Bertram. Liidgate Illus- 
trated Magazine, vol. vi. p. 198. 

Forces, John. Card-Sharpers; their Tricks Exposed. (Translated from Robert-Houdin's 
Les Tricheries des Grecs.) London, 1891. Svo. 

Fi;iKEi-ii, (J. Hanky-panky : A Book of (\jnjuring Tricks. London, 1875. 

Magic no Mystery : Conjuring Tricks with Cards, Balls, and Dice ; Magic Writing, 

Performing Animals, etc. Edited by W. II. Cremer. London, 1876. 

Frost, Thomas. The Lives of the Conjurers. London, 1881. 8vo. 

Tlie Old Showmen and the Old London Fairs. London, ISSL Svo. 

Gai,e. Cabinet of Knowledge : With Mechanical, Magnetical and Magical Ex])eriments, 
Card Deceptions, etc. London, 1803. 

Ganthony, R. Practical Ventriloquism and its Sister Arts. London, 1893. Svo. 

G.\RENNE, Prof. Henri. The Art of Modern Conjuring, Magic, and Illusions. A Prac- 
tical Treatise on the Art of Parlor and Stage Magic, Illusions, Spiritualism, Ventrilo- 
quism, Thought-reading, Mesmerism, Mnemotechny, etc. London, — . 8vo. 

Gatcheli>, The Methods of Mind-Readers. Forum, vol. xi. pp. 192-204. 

Scientific account of the so-callel mind-reading feats of Stuart Cumberland, Washington Irving Bishop, 
and others, showing them to be muscle-reading. Worked in conjunction with certain conjuring tricks, umscle- 
roading has an all but supernatural effect. Mr. Gatthell explains many of the devices used by charlatans to 
imitate clairvoyance, etc. See also chapters on similar subjects in Burlingame's " Leaves from Conjurers' Scrap- 
Books," Carl Wilhuann's "Moderne Wunder," and Sid. Macaire's " Mind-Reading, or Muscle-Reading :■ "' 

Good, Arthur. Magic at Home : Book of Amusing Science. Translated by Prof. 
Hoffmann [Angelo Lewis]. Londcm, 1890. Svo. 

IIalt-e, J. S. Magic. Berlin, 1783. 

Hart, Ernest. Hypnotism, ^Mesmerism, and the New ^A'itchcraft. New York, 1893. 
12mo. 212 pp. 

A new and enlarged edition, with chapters on "The Eternal Gullible," " The Confessions of a Professional 
Hypnotist," and notes on the hypnotism of Trilby. 

Hattox, Henry. Secrets of Conjuring. Scribners, vol. xxi. ])p. 304-306. 

The Art of Second Sight. Scribners, vol. xxi. ])p. 65-69. 


Heather, H. E. Cards and Card Tricks. London, 1879. 8vo. 

Henry, T. Shekleton. "-Spookland." A record of research and experiment in a much- 
talked-of realm of mystery, with a review and criticism of the so-called spiritualistic 
phenomena of spirit materialization, and hints and illustrations as to the possibility of 
artificially producing the same. 

Hercat. Card Tricks and Conjuring up to Date. London, 1896. 8vo. 123 pp. 

Hermon, Harry. Hellerism : Second-sight Mystery ; Supernatural Vision, or Second-' 
sight. What is it ? A Mystery ; A Complete Manual for Teaching this Peculiar Art. 
Boston, 1884. 16mo. 
A fine expose of Robert Heller's second-gight trick. 

Herrmann, Addie. Confessions of an Assistant Magician. Lippincott, vol. viii. p. 482. 

Herrmann, Alexander. Light on the Black Art. Cosmopolitan, vol. xiv. p. 208. 

^ Necromancy Unveiled. Lippincott, vol. viii. p. 475. 

. Some Adventures of a Necromancer. North American Review, vol. civ. p. 418. 

The Art of Magic. North American Review, vol. cliii. p. 92. 

Interesting magazine articles by the great Herrmann, giving his personal experiences as a magician. 

Hocus-pocus, Jr. The Anatomy of Legerdemain. Fourth edition. London, 1654. 

Hodgson, Richard. Indian Magic, and the Testimony of Conjurers. Proceedings : Society 
for Psychical Research, Part 25, p. 354. 

Prof. [Angelo Lewis]. Drawing-Room Conjuring. London and New York, 
1887. 12mo. 179 pp. 

Modern Magic. A Practical Treatise on the Art of Conjuring. With an appendix 

containing explanations of some of the best known specialties of Messrs. Maskelyne 
and Cooke. London and New York, — . 12mo. 578 pp. 

An elaborate treatise on prestidigitation. Very useful to students. Palmistry in all its branches explained, 
as well as stage illusions. 

More Magic. London and New York, 1890. 12mo. 457 pp. 

See also under Robert-Houdin. 

Hoffmann, Walter J. Juggling Tricks among the Menominee Indians. United States 
Bureau of Ethnology ; fourteenth annual rejjort, 1892-93. Part 1, pp. 97-100. 

HoLDEN. A Wizard's W^anderings. London, 1886. 

[Hurst, Lulu]. The Revelations of Lulu Hurst, the Georgia Wonder. — . 267 pp. 

Jastrow, Joseph. Psychological Notes upon Sleight-of-Hand Experts. Science, vol. iii. 
pp. 685-689. Reprinted in " Scientific American Supplement," vol. xlii. p. 17488. 

Professor Jastrow, at his i)sychologioal laboratory, subjected the conjurers Herrmann and Kellar to a 
series of careful tests to ascertain their tactile sensibility, sensitiveness to textures, accuracy of visual percep- 
tion, quickness of movement, mental processes, etc. In " Science " he details the results obtained by him in his 
experiments, the first of the kind ever made with magicians as subjects. Read in conjunction with the highly 
interesting series of articles on the " Psychology of Dece])tion," Robert-IIoudin's memoirs and magical revela- 
tions, and Max Dessoir's fine papers, these studies of Herrmann and Kellar are of great interest to all students 
of experimental psychology. Tliere are no finer illustrations of mental and visual deception than the tricks of 

Psychology of Deception. Popular Science Monthly, vol. xxxiv. pji. 145-157; 721-732. 

Kellar, Harry. High Caste Indian Magic. North American Review, vol. clvi. pp. 75-86. 

In this entertaining paper, Kellar the conjurer describes some of the magical i)erformances of the Hindu 

fakirs and Zulu wizards. They not only out-Herod Herod, but out-Haggard Rider Haggard, the prince of 


romancerB, for weirdnees and improbability. The article reads as if it had been " written up " for effect, being 
the product of an elastic and brilliant imagination, though Kellar claims to have been an eye-witness of all the 
marvels he describes. Some few of them, hypnotic in character, such as the feat of '• imitation death," arc 
unquestionably true, as witness the evidence of Sir Claude M. Wade and other eminent Anglo-Indian investigators. 
The magician Herrmann, who traveled over India, had but a contemptuous opinion of Hindu fakir tricks. 
Modern theosophists have done much to exploit the so-called miracles of Tibetan and Indian necromancers. 
Madame Blavatsky's works are full of absurd stories of Oriental magic. See her "Caves and Jungles of Hindu- 
stan," " Isis Unveiled," etc., for example. But also see Arthur Lillie's work, " Madame Blavatsky and her The- 
osopliy," London, 1897, for amusing revelations of theosophical marvels. 

Magic among the Red Men. Nortli American Review, vol. clviii. pp. 591-600. 

KuNARD, Prof. R. Book of Card Tricks for Drawing-Room and Stage. London, 1888. 

Modern Magic ; a Book of Conjuring for Amateurs. London, 1888. 8vo. 

Le Roux, Hugues, and Garnier, Jules. Acrobats and Mountebanks. Translated by 
A. P. Morton. London and New York, 1890. 4to. 

A very entertaining work, tracing the history of the mountebank from his inception in the nomadic caravan 
to his apotheosis in the splendid modern circus and vaudeville theatre. 

Lewis, T. Hanson. The Great Wizard of tbe West [J. N. Maskelyne]. English Illus- 
trated Magazine, vol. xii. p. 75. 

LocKHART, W. Advanced Prestidigitation. London, 1894. 

Logan, Olive. The King of Conjurers [Robert-Houdin]. Harper's Magazine, vol. Iv. pp. 

Macaire, Sid. Mind-Reading, or Muscle-Reading ? London, 1889. 

A capital little work on muscle-reading and pretended second-sight. 
Macc.\be, Frederic. The Art of Ventriloquism. London, — . 12mo. 110 pp. 
Magic and Pretended Miracles. London, 1848. 

Marion, F. Wonders of Optics. New York, 1869. 8vo. 

Contains interesting translations from the memoirs of Robertson, the eighteenth-century ghost illusionist. 
Maskelyne, John Nevil. Modern Spiritualism. London, 1875. (Pamphlet.) 
Natural Magic. Leisure Hours, vol. xxvii, pp. 5-204. 

Sharps and Flats. London, 1894. 8vo. 

An expose of the multifarious devices used in cheating at games of chance and skill. One of the best works 
on the subject. 

The Magnetic Lady ; or, A Human Magnet Demagnetized. Being an appendix to 

" The Supernatural." Loudon, — . 8vo. 16 pp. 
Natural Magic. Chambers' Miscellany, No. 82. 

Naude, G. History of Magick, by way of A])()Iogy for all the Wise Men who have been 
Unjustly Reputed Magicians, from the Earliest Times to the Present Age. Loudon, 

Pepper, John Henry. The Play-Book of Science. London, — . 8vo. 506 pp. 

The True History of the Ghost, and all about Metempsychosis. London, 1890. 

8vo. 46 pp. 

Professor Pepper, inventor of the famous "Ghost," gives full details in this little book of the apparatus used 
in performing the startling optical illusion, together with many amusing personal experiences connected with its 
stasre production. There were spiritualists in London who asserted that Professor Pepper was a powerful medium, 
and produced his weird phantasms by some occult influence. They deluged him with letters on the subiect. The 
illusion known as " Metempsychosis " is the basis of Kellar's ingenious " Blue-Room " trick, which has puzzled 
thousands of spectators. 


PiESSE, G. W. S. Ohymical, Natural, and Physical Magic. Tliird edition. liondon, 
1865. ICmo. 

QuiNN, John Philip. Nineteenth Century Black Art ; or, Gambling Exposed. With 
illustrations of all crooked gambling appliances. Chicago, 1896. 12mo. 104 pp. 

Revelations of a Spikit-Medium ; or, Spiritualistic Mysteries Exposed. A detailed 
explanation of the methods used by fraudulent mediums. By A Medium. St. Paul, 
Minn., 1891. 8vo. 324 pp. 

Robert-Houdin (Jean-Eugene). Card-Shari)ing Exposed. Translated and edited, with 
notes, by Professor Hoffmann. London and New York, 1882. 12rao. 316 pp. 

Memoirs of Robert-Houdln, Ambassador, Author, and Conjurer, written by himself. 

Translated from the French by R. Shelton Mackenzie. Philadelphia, 1859. 12mo. 
445 pp. 

The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic ; or, How to Become a Wizard. Translated and 

edited, with notes, by Professor Hoffmann. London and New York, 18T8. 12mo. 
373 pp. 

The Secrets of Stage Conjuring. Translated and edited, with notes, by Professor Hoff- 
mann. London and New York, 1881. 12mo. 252 pp. 

Robert-Houdin's works on magic are genuine classics, and are so regarded by all conjurers. No more fas- 
cinating biography was ever written tlian Iloudln's Memoirs. It contains interesting sketches of old-time magi- 
cians, such as Philippe, Bosco, Comte, Tonini, and Pinetti, also a great deal of scientific and historical informa- 
tion relating to early inventions, etc. " The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic " {Les necreis de la preslidigUation 
et de la mag'ie), published in 1S68, is an admirable treatise on sleight of hand. The French edition is out of print. 
" The possession of a copy of this book," says Angelo Lewis, "was regarded among professors of magic as a 
boon of the highest possible value. It is unquestionably the most scientific work ever written on the art of 
conjuring." The English translation has been received with the greatest favor by amateur and professional 
sleight-of-hand performers. Students of psychology will find much to interest them in this clever book. 

ROCHAS, Albekt de. Trials by Fire, and Fire Jugglers. Popular Science Monthly, vol. 
xxi. pp. 645-650. 

ROTERBERG, A. The Modern Wizard. Containing an essay on " The Art of Magic," by 
W. E. Robinson. Chicago, — . 8vo. 120 pp. 

Latter Day Tricks. A sequel to The Modern Wizard. Chicago, 1896. 8vo. 104 pp. 

Capital little manuals of the latest marvels in the magical line. 

Sachs, Edwin O. Modern Theater Stages. Engineering, January 17, 1896, to June 11, 

Sleight of hand; a Practical Manual of Legerdemain for Amateurs and Others. London, 

1885. 12mo. 408 pp. 

An excellent work' for students. Palmistry carefully explained. •- 

Salverte, E. The Occult Sciences ; Philosoj^hy of Magic, Prodigies, and Ajjjiarent 
Miracles. From the French, with notes l)y A. T. 'Thomson. 2 vols. London, 
1846. 12mo. 

Shaw, W. II. J. Magic and its Mysteries. Chicago, 1893. 8vo. 61pp. 

Skinner, W. E. {Comjnhr). — Wehmann's Wizard's Manual. New York, 1892. 8vo. 
122 i)p. 

Society for Psychical Research : Proceedings, vols. i. to xi. London. 1882-83 to 1895. 

Contain many exposes of iinleiidcd iii('(liunit<liii), etc. 

Stanyon, Ellih. Conjuring for Amateurs. A Practical Treatise on How to Perform 
Modern Tricks. London, 1897. 8vo. 122 pp. 

Bibliography. 545 

Taylor, Rev. E. S. History of Playing Cards. 48 plates and woodcuts. London, 
1865. 8vo. 
Contains anecdotes of the uses of cards in conjuring, fortune-telling, and card-sharping. 

TiiAUMATURGiA ; or, Elucidations of the Marvelous. By an Oxonian. London, 1835. 12mo. 

TniAYENNis, T. T. History of the Art of Magic. With a Sketch of Alexander Herrmann. 
New York, 1887. 8vo. 

TiNDAL, Marcus. Tricks with Pennies, New Illustrated Magazine, August, 1897, 
pp. 373-376. 

TisSANDiER, Gaston. Popular Scientific Recreations, a Storehouse of Instruction and 
Amusement ; in which the Marvels of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Geology, 
Astronomy, etc., are Explained and Illustrated, Mainly by Means of Pleasing Experi- 
ments and Attractive Pastimes. London and New York, — . 4to. 884 pp. 

This monumental work is a translation of Tissandier's Les recreations sciefitiflques, with many additions. 
It contains a few conjuring feats of a very simple nature, and an expose of the ghost illusion and decapitated-head 
trick. In the chapter on clocks, the reader will find an interesting description of Robert-Houdin's famous 
magical timepiece, which ran apparently without works. It will be remembered that one of these wizard 
clocks was the means of introducing Houdin to the French public as a prestidigitateur, as explained in the 
introduction— " The Mysteries of Modern Magic." 

Trewey, Felician. Shadowgraphy : How it is Done. London, 1893. 8vo. (Pamphlet.) 

Trxjesdell, Johx W. The Bottom Facts Concerning the Science of Spiritualism : derived 
from careful investigations covering a period of twenty-five years. New York, 1883. 
8vo. 331 pp. 
Exposes of slate-writing feats and cabinet arts. A valuable work. 

Weatherby, L. a. The Supernatural ? With chapter on Oriental Magic, Spiritualism, 
and Theosophy, by J. N. Maskelyne. London, — . 12mo. 273 pp. 

Welton, Thomas. Mental Magic ; a Rationale of Thought-Reading and its Phenomena. 
London, 1884. 4to. 

White Magic. Encycloptedia Britannica, vol. xv. pp. 207-211. 

Whole Art op Legerdemaln ; or, Hocus-pocus Laid Open and Explained. [Anon.] 
Philadelphia, 1852. 18mo. 



Antonio, Carlo. Dictionnaire encyclopedique. Avec atlas. Paris, 1792-1799. 4to. 900 pp. 

Scientific recreations, illusions, and conjuring tricks, ingenious applications of science to industry, etc. 
The works of Decremps, Ozanam, Guyot, Pinetti, and Montucla, etc., are largely drawn upon. 

Tresor des jeux. The Hague, 1769. 

Cup and ball conjuring, tricks with cards, etc., illustrated. 

Cepak, Abel. Ce qu'on pent faire avec les oeufs. Collection complete et variee des experi- 
ences faciles et amusantes pouvant gtre executees par tout le monde avec des ceufs. 
Paris, 1889. 12mo. 163 pp. 
A work devoted solely to conjuring tricks performed with eggs. 

CoMBiNAisoN Egyptienne du cklebre Cagliostro. Veritable explication des six cents 
principaux songes. Figures noires et coloriees. Paris, — . 12mo, 


COMTE, and FoNTENELLE, JuLiE DE. Sorciers, ou ]a magie blanclie devoilee par les 
ddcouvertes de la cbimie, de la physique, et de la mecanique. Paris, — . 

CoMUS. Physique amusante. Paris, 1801. 

DECREAfPS, N. La magie blanclie devoilee. ou explication de tours surprenants qui font 
depuis peu I'admiration de la capitals et de la province, avec des reflexions sur la 
baguette divinatoire, les automates joueurs d'ecbecs. Figures explicatives. Paris, 
1784, 1788, 1793. 8vo. 

Supplement a la Magie blanche devoilee, contenant Fexplieation de plusieurs tours 

nouveaux jou«^s depuis peu a Londres, avec des eclaircissements sur les artifices des 
joueurs de profession, les cadrans sympathiques, le mouvement perpetuel, les chevaux 
savans, les poupees parlantes, les automates dansants, les ventriloques, les sabots 
elastiques. Figures. Paris, 1785, 1788, 1792. Bvo. 

Eclaircissements a la Magie blanche devoilee. Paris, 1785. 8vo. 

Testament de Jerome Sharp, professeur de physique amusante, ou Ton trouve parmi 

plusieurs tours de subtilite qu'on pent executer sans aucune depense, des preceptes, 
des exemples sur I'art de faire des chansons impromptu, pour servir de suite et de 
complement a la Magie blanche devoilee. Figures. Paris, 1786, 1788, 1789, 1793. 8vo. 

Codicile de Jerome Sharp, professeur de physique amusante, ou Ton trouve parmi 

plusieurs tours, diverses recreations relatives aux sciences et beaux-arts, pour servir 
de suite a la Magie blanche. Figures. Paris, 1788, 1791, 1793. 8vo. 

Les petites aventures de Jerome Sharp, professeur de physique amusante, ouvrage con- 
tenant autant de tours ingenieux que de le9ons utiles avec quelques petits portraits a 
la maniere noire. Avec 18 figures grav. en bois. Bruxelles et Paris, 1789, 1790, 
1793. Bvo. 

Original editions of the works of this ingenious writer are exceedingly rare. They are gennine curiosities in 
the domain of magical literature, being the first scientific treatises on the art of sleight of hand written in the 
French language. Decremps was a pioneer in this line, and hundreds of authors, English, French, and German, 
are indebted to him for material for their books. lie exposed the tricks and illusions of the eigliteenth-century 
wizards, and, according to Larousse, did much to dispel by his revelations the pretended sorcery of Cagliostro. 
The Codicile de Jerome Sharp was published during the "Reign of Terror "of the French Revolution. Its 
author did not fall a victim to the guillotine, but lived to a good old age, dying in the year 1826. This work 
contains a portrait of Decremps. 

De Muson. La Magie blanche devoilee. Paris, 1855. 

Manuel des sorciers. Paris, 1802. 

Recreations de physique. Paris, 1828. 

DiCKSONN. Mes trues. Paris, 1893. 

Dictionnaire de trucs ; illusions de physique amusante. 1 vol. (with one volume of 
steel plates). Paris, 1792. 878 pp. 

Dictionnaire des Ana. Paris, 1794. 4to. 

DrnoT. Nouvelle biographie g^ndrale. Paris, 1859. See article Robert-Houdin. 

DucRET, Etienne. Tours d'escamatoge, anciens et nouveaux. Paris, — . 

Faideau, F. Les amusements scientifiques, recreations sur les illusions, ou erreurs des 
sens. Paris, — . 

Gandon, F. a. La seconde vue devoilee. Paris, 1849. 

Grandpkb. Magicien moderne. Paris, — . 570 pp. 



Grand tratte des songes, ou explication complete des visions et inspirations noc- 
turnes. Paris, 1831. ISuio. 

GuYOT. Nouvelles recreations pliysi<jues et matbt'inatiques. Paris, 17fi9, 1775, 1786, 
1790, 1799, 1800. 

Hatin. Robert-Houdin, sa vie, ses ORuvres, son tlicatre. Paris, 1857. 

Hei,ION. Physique amusante. 1660. 

L'Ai-bert moderne. Paris, 1782. 2 vols. 12mo 

La magie naturelle. Lyons, 1787. Figures. 

Landau. Petit magicien. Paris, 1810. 

La Nouvelle Magie Blanche Devoilee. Amusantes grande initiation a la vraie 
pratique des celebres pbysiciens et prestidigitateurs. Par un amateur. Paris, 1855. 
8vo. 324 pp. 

L'Escamotetjr Habile, ou I'art d'amuser agreableraent une Societe, contenant les tours de 
cartes, etc. Pestb, 1816. 

Magus. Magie blanche en famille. Paris, 1895. 352 pp. 

Manuel des sorciers, ou cours de recreations y)hysiques, mathematiqiies, tours de 
cartes et gibeciere ; suivi des petits jeux de societe et le leurs penitenas. Cinquieme 
Edition, avec figures. Paris, 1820. 16mo. 293 pp. 

Marion, F. Magie naturelle, ou optique amusante. In his Optique. 1869. 

Marly. Physique amusante. 1626. 

Mathiot, Germain. Nouvelles recreations physiques et mathematiques. Paris, 1799. 

MoYNET, Georges. Trues et decors. Paris, 1895. 8vo. 

, M. J. L'Envers du theStre. Paris, 1875. 16mo. 

Naude, G. Apologie pour tons les grands homnies qui ont este accusez de magie. Paris, 
1669. 24mo. 

OzANAM, Jacques. Recreations mathematiques et physiques. Paris, 1694. 2 vols. 8vo. 
■ Other editions published in 1720, 1723, 1725, 1735, 1741, 1749, 1750, 1778, 1790. 
Contains many curious scientific diversions, besides tricks with cups and balls, pyrotechny, etc. 

Pinetti, de Wildalle, Jean-Joseph. Amusements physiques. Paris, 1784. 8vo. 95 pp. 
The Same. Nouvelle Edition augmentee par I'auteur de six nouvelles grav. Paris, 

1785. 8vo. 
• Tlie Same. Troisieme edition augmentee de quelque nouvelles experiences physiques 

et de gravures. Paris, 1791. 8vo. 

This work by the famous Pinetti, king of conjurers of the eighteenth century, is a little handbook of very 
simple experiments in natural magic, evidently designed to be sold in the theatre. It contains no sleight-of-hand 
experiments, or anything of value to a professional. Pinetti carefully preserved the secrets of his tricks, and 
died without making any revelations. Decremps, however, has sufficiently acquainted us with them in his 
3fagie Uatiche devoilee. An edition in English of Pinetti's book was published in London. On the title- 
page the conjurer expresses himself as follows : " Physical amusements and diverting experiments composed and 
performed in different capitals of Europe, and in London. By Signor Giuseppe Pinetti, de Wilidalle, Knight of 
the German Order of Merit of St. Philip, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, pensioned by the 
court of Prussia, patronized by all the royal family of France, aggregate of the Royal Academy of Sciences and 
Belles-lettres of Bordeaux, etc. London, 1784." 65 pp. 

The most interesting thing about this insignificant booklet is a steel-plate frontispiece containing a portrait 
of the great magician. Two winged cherubs are depicted, placing the bust of Pinetti in the temple of arts. The 
motto reads : "Desgenies placent le buste de M. le Professeur Piuetti dans le temple des arts, au milieu des 
instruments de physique et de mathematiques." 


PONSIN, J. N. Nouvelle magie blanclie devoilee, physique occulte, et cours complet de 
prestidigitation, contenant tous les tours nouveaux qui ont ete executes jusqu' a ce 
joursur les theatres ou ailleurs, etqui n'ont pas encore dtd publids, et un grand nonibre 
de tours d'un effet surprenant, d'une execution facile, et tout a fait incouuus du public 
et des professeurs. Paris, 1853. 8vo. 313 pp. 
Sleight of hand with cards, coins, cups and balls. 

Prestidigitation moderne. Figures. Paris, — . 

Scientific recreations, tricks with cards, etc. Spiritigm exposed. 

Raynally. Les propos d'un escamoteur. Paris, 1894. 

ROBERT-HOUDIN (Jean-Eug:ene). Les confidences d'un prestidigitateur. 2 vols. Paris, 
1858. 8vo. 

Les secrets de la prestidigitation et de la magie. Paris, 1868. 

Les triclieries des Grecs. Paris, 1861. 

Magie et physiques amusante. Paris, 1877. 

Robertson, Etienne-Gaspard. Memoires recrdatifs et anecdotiques. 2 vols. Paris, 
1830-84. 8vo. (With a volume of plates.) 

Memoires physiques et phantasmagoric. 2 vols. Paris, 1840. 

Very interesting exposes of ghost illusions, phantasmagoria, optical tricks, etc. 

Robin, D. Histoire des spectres vivants et impalpables ; secrets de la physique amusante. 
Paris, 1864, 4to. 
Ghost illusions explained. Illusions similar to those described by Pepper in " The True Story of the Ghost. " 

E.OCHAS, Albert de. Les origines de la science et ses premieres applications. Paris, 8vo. 
288 pp. 
A very elaborate treatise ou the natural magic of ancient times, primitive science, etc, 



Anders, Fritz. Der junge Tausendkuenstler. Leipzig, 1884. 

COMTE. Das Gedankenspiel oder dieKunst der Menschen Gedanken zu erforschen; Beitrag 
zur natuerlichen Magie. Mit 12 Tafeln. Halle, 1782. 8vo. 

Handbuch der Taschenspielerkunst oder die Geheimnisse der natuerlichen Magie. 

2 Bande mit 3 Tafeln. 1834. 8vo. 

CoNR.\Di. Zaiiber Sj^iegel, monthly magazine. 
Karten Kiinstler.